President Obama signs ‘green recovery’ plan in Denver

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Environment Colorado

Denver, CO – Today at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, President Barack Obama signed an economic recovery plan that delivers $78.6 billion in clean energy, energy efficiency, and green transportation.

These provisions will create jobs while reducing pollution and saving energy. When fully implemented, these provisions will prevent at least 68 million tons of global warming pollution annually, reduce oil consumption by 15 million barrels per year, and create more than 1.5 million jobs.

Gov. Bill Ritter, who championed clean energy provisions in the economic stimulus plan, hosted the event. Joining the President and the Governor for the signing ceremony were members of the Colorado environmental community, including Pam Kiely of Environment Colorado, Elise Jones of the Colorado Environmental Coalition, and Howard Geller of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project.

“Clean energy is a clear winner for Colorado and for the nation’s economy. It’s no surprise that President Obama chose Colorado. We’ve shown that it can be done— growing jobs, protecting the environment, and keeping our economy strong,” said Pam Kiely, legislative program director of Environment Colorado. “From homegrown power to solar homes, Governor Ritter and Colorado’s clean energy champs have put us at the center of the President’s national strategy to reboot and rebuild our country’s economy on a clean energy foundation.”

Just last week, environmental and labor groups along with the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association organized a rally of more than 400 people outside the state capitol to promote a ‘green recovery’ and highlight an industry that has brought well-paid green jobs to Colorado’s economy. Groups also championed funding for transit in the economic stimulus package.

“Today President Obama signed a plan to put America’s economy on track to a green recovery,” said Elise Jones, executive director of Colorado Environment Colorado. “By prioritizing high speed trains, new rail lines, and other transit solutions, we can build a 21st century transportation system that puts people to work, cuts global warming pollution, and lessens our dependence on oil.”

The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project also lauded the plan for strong investments in energy efficiency such as weatherization programs and energy efficiency improvements for new buildings.

“Colorado will likely see over $40 million for weatherization upgrades, which means over 10,000 low-income households will save on their energy bills,” said Howard Geller, executive director of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP). “By building smarter, more efficient buildings and improving older buildings with the latest technologies, we will cut energy waste and put Coloradans back to work.”

The final bill invests $32.80 billion in clean energy, $26.86 billion in energy efficiency, and $18.95 billion in green transportation.  Environmental groups highlighted just some of the following ‘green recovery’ benefits expected to go to Colorado from the economic stimulus package:

·         $122 million for transit infrastructure projects;

·         $50 million to the energy program of the Colorado’s Energy Office, increasing the current clean energy fund money by roughly 6 times; and

·         over $40 million per year for 2 years on state weatherization program, weatherizing 10,000 low-income households and creating new jobs in the state.

Environmental groups also highlighted the following provisions:

·         extending and “recession proofing” the renewable energy incentives, which will prevent 61 million tons of global warming pollution per year by the end of the three year extension and create or protect 670,000 jobs in the near term;

·         providing $5 billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program, enough to prevent 2 million tons of global warming pollution, create 375,000 jobs, and weatherize more than a million homes; and

·         investing $8.4 billion in public transit, $1.3 billion in Amtrak and intercity rail, and $8 billion in new high speed rail which combined will save 14 million barrels of oil per year and create or preserve nearly 296,000 jobs.