More than a hint of mint in the stimulus plan

by The Green A-Team

A breakdown of the numbers from the NRDC:

The bill provides:

$6 billion for clean and safe water, creating more than 200,000 jobs

  • This insures critical funding for the nation’s pipes and treatment plants.  We don’t often worry too much about where our clean water comes from and this line seeks to keep it that way.

$4.5 billion for greening federal buildings

  • The Federal building codes and standards apply to buildings constructed or used by any Federal agency that is not legally subject to state or local building codes.  This means that any building, not just the White House, Pentagon, Capital Building, etc., ANY building paying their energy bills with Federal money will be subject to completely revised energy efficiency performance standards which have been set by the DOE.

State energy grants, issued through the Treasury Department, that will fund renewable energy projects that are eligible for the available tax credits.

  • As of October of last year, the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 prolonged tax credits in solar, fuel cells, and microturbines; increased the credit amount for fuel cells; established new credits for small wind-energy systems, geothermal heat pumps, and combined heat and power (CHP) systems; extended eligibility for the credits to utilities; and allowed taxpayers to take the credit against the alternative minimum tax (AMT) subject to certain limitations.  If you’ve got these systems already in place are are planning to build new ones, you should apply here.

Funding for the state energy program, which includes important utility reforms and building code conditions.

$2.5 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy Research and Development.

  • In many cases, the technology just isn’t there yet and it takes resources to get there, hence, this line item.

$5 billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program, creating approximately 90,000 jobs

  • The expansion of this service will help the program reach a critical mass and deliver what it was designed to do - help low income families make energy efficiency improvements on their homes and spend less on utilities.  See if you qualify here.

A multi-year extension of the renewable production tax credit.

  • Even greater insurance to individuals and corporations interested in these upgrades that their renewable energy improvements will be rewarded for many years to come.  This is the kind of thing that boosts investor confidence in green stocks.

A more effective tax credit for home efficiency upgrades.

$6 billion in loan guarantees for renewables, transmission and leading edge biofuels

  • This is a great boon for companies investing in these industries.  Now there will be real money to back up the loans guaranteed by the government.  This comes as particular significance to the USDA.

$2 billion for advanced batteries

  • More than just rechargeable batteries for your TV remote, this category of tech development may be the most important.  Certainly the automotive industry has a lot to gain with hybrid-electric vehicles seeking to replace the current fleet.  Here’s an interesting piece from the US Advanced Battery Consortium (USCAR).  The storage of electricity produced on a massive scale for residential and commercial use is also an integral component to making the new renewable grid happen.

$9.3 billion for intercity rail, including high-speed rail

  • With these new high-speed rail systems, the U.S. may actually be up to speed with the rest of the world.  Here’s a little more on that idea.

$27.5  billion for highways (this large pot of money is not exclusively for highways, and states and cities must use this flexibility to invest in fuel-efficient public transportation)

  • While this may seem a bit imbalanced up against the public transportation budgets, the ethos behind it suggests the auto fleet will be markedly cleaner by the time the highways are improved.  Like it or not, the U.S. is a car culture which means the industries and infrastructure must change to accommodate it.

$8.4 billion for transit

$1.5 billion in competitive grants for transportation investments (which could be used for public transportation)

  • These last two lines combined with the high-speed rail budget is a pretty formidable sum to help the country’s beleaguered public trans condition.  However, it may also prove to be a mere drop in the bucket if the other energy system improvements are not met.

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Time’s up for gas guzzling automakers

by Rich Awn

The rubber hits the road as President Obama puts car and truck emission regulations in reverse.

With petroleum fueling foreign conflict and gas prices mercilessly gouging  the American people, President Obama announced his plans for decisive action in his first steps toward real energy independence.

The new energy policy now before Congress calls for a massive overhaul in the physical engineering of our current grid; a project that will create a new energy economy loaded with green collar jobs.

As for the new green American auto fleet, the President declares it will be built right here at home.  By 2020, new manufacturing standards will only produce autos that can get at least 35 miles per gallon.  This 40% increase in fuel efficiency could save 2 million barrels of oil per day.

While his wish is not to burden the struggling American auto industry, the President’s swift actions have automakers scrambling to meet these new standards slated to begin in 2011.

For more on the new energy economy, have a look at some of these links:

Environmentalists for Obama

Technology’s fingerprints on the stimulus package (NY Times)

US Secretary breaks with ‘drill only’ energy policy (AP)

Photo by Subject is too Cute.

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White House Farmer Polling Results

by The Green A-Team

This just in from

Thank you for your outpouring of support for a White House Farmer – we received nearly 56,000 votes from all across the country in just 10 days!

This amazing grassroots effort has sent a huge wave of awareness across the nation.  You have spoken loud and clear — not only to encourage the new administration to make Michael Pollan’s call for a White House Farmer a reality — but also for the larger cause that we are working toward with our farms and with our forks, delicious food grown sustainably by farmers in our communities.

We offer our congratulations to all the nominees, and to farmers across the nation who steward the land and grow good food.  You are all winners, and we are grateful for the work you do.

The top three vote-getters in this poll were:

1. Claire Strader, Troy Community Farm, Madison, WI

2. Carrie Anne Little, Mother Earth Farm, Puyallup, WA

3. Margaret Lloyd, Home Farming, Davis, CA

Congratulations, Margaret!

Scroll down for more of Margaret’s fight to farm the White House lawn.

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Renewed World Order:
The Obama Administration’s first green steps

by The Green A-Team

On a global stage, an historic election is settled but how much attention will President Obama give back to the globe?

Anxious enviros await appointments to Obama’s Cabinet-level environmental positions.  Possibilities include loyal campaign supporters like Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, Iowa Governor and foreign oil reductionist Tom Vilsack, former Secretary of Energy and Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson, and of course the face of the current environmental movement Al Gore.

But it’s not just cronies and politicians who’ve got a shot at contributing to Obama’s environmental team, it’s open to everyone!  Readers of the New York Times column Dot Earth have been asked to submit climate and energy proposals and the 10 best will be delivered directly to Obama’s transition team.

Clearly, this President’s environmental strategy will include collaborative thinking in bringing people together in a new way to solve old problems.

For up-to-the-second coverage of the new Green administration, visit this special Green Air News vertical series.

Photo by zyrcster.

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More earthly advice for Obama

by The Green A-Team

Welcome to the first addition of “Renewed World Order,” a vertical news thread of opinions and observations concerning President-elect Obama’s emerging environmental agenda.  Keep up with what gets passed and what gets passed on right here.

Full NYT article here.

The plumage of clean coal puffs its way back into the political face at a special panel discussion at Stamford University with an emphasis on “dis.”  Al Gore took aim at misconceptions of “clean coal” and “Big Coal” in his speech giving advice and awaking eco-demons summoned during this past election.

This article points out is how most swing states are coal states and how playing the sweet song of the clean coal peace pipe could soothe voters whose livelihoods depend on mining.  As a tactic, it was used on both sides and we’ll see if Obama chooses to make good on his promises to develop clean coal technologies as did President Bush… and we can see how much got done there.

If you’ve got a suggestion for President-elect Obama, submit it directly to him on the official website of his administration,

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