For Immediate Release: February 10, 2009
Contact: David Willett, 202-675-6698
Sierra Club Praises Senate for Passage of Recovery Package
Looks Forward to Conference Improvements
Washington, DC: The Sierra Club today praised the Senate for passing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act because it makes an important down payment on solutions that will transform America's economy, lead to a clean energy future and invest in training the next generation of workers. Tens of thousands of Sierra Club activists told their Senators they wanted this bill passed because it invests in newer, cleaner, more efficient technology that creates desperately needed jobs and reduces our dependence on oil.
"This bill is a win-win for a strong economy and a healthier environment," said Melinda Pierce, Sierra Club's National Campaigns Deputy Director. "With an investment of close to $100 Billion, it will create good jobs for people here in America and reduce our dependence on dirtier energy sources like oil and coal by promoting the shift to wind and solar power, high energy performance, low carbon cars and buildings, mass transit, and a modernized water and transportation infrastructure."
While the Sierra Club fully supports passage of the bill, there are some provisions that waste money on costly, business-as-usual approaches like new coal-fired power plants or "highways to nowhere." In particular, Sierra Club is urging Congress to address the following issues in Conference before the bill is sent to the President:
- $50 billion in loan guarantees that could go to risky investments like nuclear power plants, liquid coal and other coal facilities that were included in the Senate bill should be eliminated because they will not provide short-term economic stimulus, are harmful to the environment, and place taxpayers at significant and unnecessary financial risk.
- Only the House version provides clean energy developers the opportunity to trade the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for Department of Energy grants at a reduced value. Providing this flexibility is critically important in the current financial climate. Congress must retain this crucial provision from the House bill.
- The Senate version reduced funding for public transportation despite the higher number of jobs created by transit. Congress should again defer to the House version.
- The Nelson-Collins amendment cut funds for efficiency, a smart electricity grid, weatherization and retrofitting of federal buildings. Full funding for these kinds of job-creating and money-saving programs should be restored.
"Congress now needs to make sure that President Obama's vision of an economic recovery and a clean energy future prevail," said Pierce. "The best parts of these bills can get America going in the right direction with good jobs and smart solutions."