PACKAGE CONTAINS OVER 60 BILLION IN DIRECT SPENDING ON GREEN INITIATIVES AND ANOTHER 20 BILLION EARMARKED FOR GREEN TAX INCENTIVES
The final stimulus package, which President Obama is expected to sign into law today, President’s Day, contains many victories for beleaguered environmentalists, not the least of which is a reported $6o billion allocated for direct spending on green initiatives, and another $20 billion earmarked for green tax incentives.
While this package is by no means a cure-all, it is a vital he first step into a new green age and is necessary to combat the ever-worsening effects on our planet from Global Warming.
That being said, here in no particular order is the breakdown:
$11 billion for the construction of an advanced Digital Smart Grid and $7.5 billion for renewable energy and transmission-line construction, which will enable the renewable energy to be moved from the rural areas that best lend themselves to wind, solar and thermal installations, to the cities where the power is needed;
$2.5 billion for energy efficiency and renewable-energy research;
$6.3 billion for local government energy-efficiency grants;
$400 million for the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Project Agency for Energy for the development of alternative energy sources;
$500 million for green jobs programs through the Workforce Investment Act;
$5 billion to weatherize old buildings;
$4.5 billion to boost the energy efficiency of federal buildings;
$2.25 billion for the HOME Investment Partners Program to fund energy-efficiency retrofits for low-income housing;
$5 billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program to fund the retrofits of 1 million modest-income homes, saving the families living there an average $350 a year;
$6.3 billion to improve federally backed and public housing projects with new insulation, windows and furnaces. For every dollar spent, such programs are expected to produce about $3 in electricity savings. The legislation also provides tax breaks for higher-income households making similar improvements;
$1.2 billion to fund the Environmental Protection Agency’s environmental cleanup programs, including the long neglected Superfund;
$510 million for energy-efficiency retrofits for Native American housing programs;
$420 million for energy-efficiency improvements at the Department of Defense;
$300 million for Department of Defense research on energy efficiency at military installations;
$6 billion for cleaning up toxins on former military sites;
$6 billion for new loan guarantees for wind and solar;
The package also extends tax credits for wind-energy production for three years where previously they had to be renewed year to year. But more importantly, the legislation allows renewable-energy developers to get cash grants in exchange for the tax credits, which is crucial in light of the current economic downturn and the fact that many companies engaged in renewable-energy haven’t had the profits against which to take a tax credit;
Over $17 billion for public transportation;
$8.4 billion for transit capital assistance programs;
$9.3 billion for high-speed rail, intercity rail and Amtrak;
$27.5 billion for highways though some of that highway money could be redirected to fund public transit, if states and municipalities decide it should;
$300 million in grants and loans for technologies that reduce highly toxic diesel emissions;
$6 billion for improvements to drinking-water systems;
A tax credit of up to $7,500 for families that buy plug-in hybrids;
The new bill also allocates $300 million for a federal fleet of hybrid vehicles.
But perhaps the best of all is what was left out of the final draft of the stimulus package: the $50 billion in federal loan guarantees to the nuclear industry, as well as all money for coal and for the farce that is clean coal.