On A Clean Energy Economy

Flag and TurbineI recently returned from Washington, D.C. after meeting with Rhode Island’s Congressional Delegation to discuss the stimulus package. The issues that we discussed were renewable energy, energy efficiency, and public transit development here in Rhode Island. The overall message that I received as I left from Representative Kennedy, Representative Langevin, Senator Reed, and Senator Whitehouse’s office’s, is that they get it! They understand that any recovery plan must be developed toward a clean energy economy.

This will create millions of jobs here in our country that can’t be outsourced to other countries. That by investing billions of dollars in clean energy infrastructure now, we will be saving billions of dollars in fossil fuels being sent to foreign nations every year. A clean energy economy will also help address two of the biggest issues facing our country at the same time, by reducing global warming pollution and moving our country toward energy independence

Environment Rhode Island recently released a new report called “Clean Energy, Bright Future: Rebuilding America Through Green Infrastructure”. Here are some of the proposals from the report.

RENEWABLE ENERGY

  • Ensure effective incentives for clean, renewable energy
  • Expand the Clean Renewable Energy Bonds
  • Fund the Green Jobs Act

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

  • Fund energy efficiency and conservation block grants
  • Expand the home weatherization program
  • Create a home and commercial building retrofit program

CLEANER TRANSPORTATION

  • Fully fund New Starts transit capital projects
  • Transit modernization and rehabilitation
  • Increase transit operations and energy assistance grants

The House of Representatives recently released their version of the stimulus bill. It was great to see actual movement towards achieving these goals. Here are some of the proposals outlined in the bill.

  • extending the renewable energy production tax credit and making it “recession proof;”
  • investing $6 billion in efficiency and conservation renovations in federal buildings;
  • investing $6.2 billion to help low income families weatherize their homes
  • providing $6.9 billion in community block grants to fund state- and city-run efficiency programs.

The upcoming year will be a challenging time for our country, especially here in Rhode Island. After traveling back from Washington, I came away from these meetings feeling that we have a great opportunity with the stimulus package, to make smart and affective policy decisions, ones that work for the 21st century and not the outdated and failed policies of the 20th century. We have the ability to make changes that our children and grandchildren can reap the rewards from.

The full report can be viewed at https://www.environmentrhodeisland.org/reports

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