Going Green Could Boost the U.S. Economy, Create Jobs and Benefit Agriculture

Now that a new administration is in place, things are going to change. One of the things President Barack Obama plans to do is request congressional approval to invest $150 billion over 10 years on clean energy initiatives.

Some of these initiatives include expanding the biofuels and fuel infrastructure, advancing commercialization of hybrids, developing renewable energy and making the transition to a new digital electricity grid. This investment in clean energy reportedly could help Americans reduce greenhouse gas consumption by roughly 10 percent each year. If this proposal passes, it could create or sustain more than 3 million jobs across the nation.

Groups like the Environment America have made plans and recommendations for Obama’s green investment in addition to 29 other environmental groups that released a comprehensive report stating a list of actions and policies they would like to see implemented after Obama takes office.

The full report, which can be found here, was developed by 29 environmental advocacy groups including Center for International Environmental Law, League of Conservation Voters, Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Population Action International. The report discusses the need for investment in the creation of jobs in the renewable energy sector, building weatherization, a retooled auto industry, investment in infrastructure and major improvements to the electrical grid. The report also outlined what every federal branch agency, department and office can do on a number of other environmental issues.

Agriculture issues are also very important to these 29 environmental groups. The five issues listed for the Department of Agriculture are animal and plant health inspection service, farm service agency, forest service, natural resources conservation service and research, education and economics. Some of their goals include reinvigorating the conservation reserve program, halting policies that promote native grassland conversion and improving conservation compliance.

Environment America, a non-profit advocacy group with offices in 27 states and Washington, D.C., released a report, which can be found here on Jan. 13 that describes the benefits and recommendations regarding Obama’s $150 billion investment including weatherizing U.S. homes and businesses, training workers for new clean energy industries and increasing public transportation capacity to meet growing demand.

“Our nation can no longer afford the toll dirty energy is exacting on our environment and economy,” said Amy Gomberg, program director with Environment Ohio, a chapter of Environment America. “Clean energy can protect our environment and rev our economic engine to generate a brighter future for Ohio.”

According to Environment Ohio, Ohio is one of the most energy-dependent states in America. Each year, Ohio sends billions of dollars out of state to support our addiction to those fossil fuels.

In Ohio, several companies such as Jennings Heating are eager and ready to contribute to the economy’s green efforts.

“I’m just so excited by this plan,” said Mike Foraker, chief executive officer of Jennings Heating. “I’m extremely impressed and believe this plan does the job.”

Besides Ohio, numerous states across the nation have already begun planning how they will utilize the $150 billion.

In Maryland, some of the projects planned are a $5.5 million energy-efficient overhaul to all the state’s police barracks and funding for solar and geothermal systems.

Michigan officials have set a goal of increasing its use of renewable energy by 15 percent by the year 2015 and overall working to use less energy.

According to Environment Iowa, in Iowa alone, this investment by the year 2020 will create an average of 3,000 jobs annually, increase wages up to $42 million per year and save consumers over $1 billion on energy costs.

What do you think? Will President Obama get this initiative passed in Congress? Do you think green initiatives will help pull the nation out of this economic downturn? How will initiatives affect the agriculture industry? Let me know your thoughts.

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