Repower America by Protecting the Environment

"Making Smart Investments Today Will Protect Our Environment, Restore Our Valuable Natural Resources and Set Us On the Path to a Clean Energy Economy."

12-11-2008 // NWF Media Team

WASHINGTON, DC -- The National Wildlife Federation joined environmental and conservation organizations today in releasing a green stimulus proposal that would repower America and create as many as 3.6 million jobs, reduce pollution, protect public health and safety, and restore the environment. The groups delivered their proposal for funding energy efficiency, renewable energy, public transportation, water infrastructure, national parks and public lands, education, agriculture and other environmental programs on Capitol Hill today.

"The fate of our economy and environment hinge on how quickly we move to repower America with clean energy solutions," said Larry Schweiger, President & CEO, National Wildlife Federation. "Clean energy investments create jobs, rebuild and refuel our economy, and reduce the pollution that is accelerating global warming. The investments in clean energy that forestall a climate meltdown will aid our recovery from the global financial meltdown."

A key area for investment is in education and training, because educational services generate 23.1 jobs per $1 million in spending, nearly five times more jobs created than oil and natural gas sector spending.

"Investing in people through green education and training is essential to get our economy back on track," said Kevin Coyle, Vice President of Education and Training, National Wildlife Federation. "That's why the environmental community is urging a $9.2 billion investment for green schools and colleges, environmental education and green job training in America's classrooms to create 289,000 jobs in the short-term and ensure long-term economic growth." See details on green education investments for short-term job creation and sustained, across-the-board economic growth on the fact-sheet "Green Education, Green Jobs, Green Schools."

The agriculture sector presents another opportunity to create "clean-tech" jobs, especially in rural areas. The Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 significantly expanded funding for USDA energy programs, including construction and development of advanced biofuel refineries, biomass research and development, renewable energy systems, energy efficiency improvements, and the development of next generation feedstocks. Full funding of these programs could help to launch thousands of jobs.

"While frequently among the first programs to be cut in tough economic times, investments in USDA energy programs are critical to launching thousands of new jobs in our rural communities. Investing in sustainable next-generation biofuels, renewable energy, and energy efficiency will recharge America's rural economy and restore the environment," said Julie Sibbing, Director of Global Warming and Agriculture, National Wildlife Federation. See details on agriculture investments on the fact-sheet "Funding Clean Energy Jobs for Rural America."

Large-scale ecosystem restoration is another smart and sustainable investment, particularly in light of the impacts global warming is having on our coasts, rivers, and estuaries. Healthy aquatic ecosystems keep regional economies strong, provide vital habitat for fish and wildlife, and protect our coastal communities. With the proper funding, restoration projects that will also create thousands of jobs are poised to begin in the Florida Everglades, Coastal Louisiana, and the Upper Mississippi River.

"We have an opportunity to show that an investment in aquatic ecosystem restoration is an investment in our future, capable of sustaining and providing new jobs nationwide while providing communities with clean drinking water and connections to nature and protecting America's recreation economy," said Malia Hale, Director of National Restoration and Water Resources Campaigns, National Wildlife Federation. "If we continue to delay the restoration of these vital aquatic ecosystems, we stand to lose not only the natural services they provide, but also the economic pillars they support."

Restoring America's economic health is linked to restoring the health of our natural systems -- this proposal will produce more than 36,000 jobs through Green Jobs Restoring the Land. These new green jobs will restore native habitats and wetlands, assist wildlife management, remove invasive species, and many other wildlife projects that have been neglected for years.

"After years of gridlock in Washington, President-Elect Obama has offered America and the world a new beginning that promises to repower America with clean energy and to protect our planet in peril," added Schweiger. "The green stimulus proposal presented today provides specific opportunities to turn that vision into reality."

National Wildlife Federation is America's conservation organization inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children's future.