Stimulus Bill a Unique Chance to Repower America’s Economy

MoneyAs a Congressional conference committee considers final changes to the economic recovery package, 
the National Wildlife Federation has joined a coalition of conservation organizations to send a joint letter to conferees today.

The groups are urging Congressional negotiators maintain the House bill's strong investments in education, clean energy and America's natural resources – all proven ways to stimulate shovel-ready projects and rapidly create jobs.

Specifically, we hope the conference bill:

  • Invests in Job-Creating Energy Efficiency: The quickest and cheapest way to create green jobs and reduce our energy costs is to invest in programs that reduce demand and save consumers money. Final legislation should adopt the House $3.4 billion State Energy Program that encourages states to adopt pro-energy efficiency utility regulatory reforms and more stringent building energy codes. The $6.2 billion for weatherization and $6 billion for green federal buildings in the House bill should be retained. The amount of weatherization funding in the House bill will reduce net fuel consumption by 23 percent and will create or preserve 142,500 jobs.

  • Maintains the House funding levels for school modernization: The $20 billion in funding for education with a investment set aside for green schools, green job education and training through the Department of Labor, and energy efficiency and sustainability grants and loans at the Department of Energy should be included in the final bill.

  • Removes billions of dollars in giveaways to nuclear power and liquid coal: The Senate bill allows the Department of Energy to hand out $50 billion in energy loan guarantees. The loan guarantee program covers nuclear technology, and coal technologies including liquid coal, as well as renewable energy. Both nuclear power and liquid coal are risky, dirty and expensive technologies. Congress should adopt the House bill’s language.

Both houses of Congress have clearly shown they recognize the urgent need to repower America’s economy with bold investments in clean energy and efficient technologies. We can put millions of Americans back to work installing solar panels and windmills, greening our schools and modernizing our power grid. This bill is a unique opportunity to take our first step down that cleaner, greener road.

Published: February 11, 2009