Response to Economic Stimulus Draft
January 15, 2009
For Immediate Release
Nick Berning: (202) 222-0748
Friends of the Earth Responds to Release of Draft Economic Stimulus Package
Focus on clean energy praised, but clean transportation investments lacking
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Friends of the Earth President Brent Blackwelder had the following response to the draft economic stimulus package released today by the Congressional leadership:
“This proposal demonstrates a serious commitment to clean energy with a number of smart and much-needed investments that can create green jobs and be instrumental in our transition to a clean energy economy.
“Unfortunately, the transportation spending doesn’t take the same forward-thinking approach. The stimulus as it currently stands doesn’t do enough to create green jobs through clean transportation investments, and it doesn’t prevent spending from going to unnecessary new roads that increase pollution and oil consumption. It is particularly disappointing to see that, unlike highway funds, public transportation and passenger rail funds have been cut below the levels suggested by the House Transportation Committee, limiting job creation in these areas. Public transportation investments create 19 percent more jobs per dollar spent than investments in new highways.
“We appreciate the hard work that Congress and the Obama administration have put into this proposal and look forward to working with them to significantly strengthen the transportation section.”
Examples of clean energy investments Friends of the Earth supports:
· More than $10 billion for upgrading the electrical grid so it has the capacity to transport and facilitate the generation of clean energy.
· More than $14 billion to make buildings more energy efficient.
· $8 billion in loan guarantees for renewable energy and power transmission.
· An extension of a production tax credit that will lead to investments in wind and solar power.
The proposal includes the following funding regarding transportation, including inadequate green job creation through investments in clean transportation:
· $30 billion for highways (significantly, there appears to be no requirement that funds be used to repair and maintain existing roads, rather than expand capacity)
· $9 billion for public transit
· Just over $1 billion for Amtrak
Friends of the Earth (www.foe.org) is the U.S. voice of the world’s largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.