Monday, December 22, 2008

Grassroots to Hold Obama to Clean Energy Promises: 67 Groups in 28 States Urge President-Elect to Act Now

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Barack Obama campaigned on the need to create a clean-energy economy in the United States. Today, 67 grassroots organizations in 28 states sent a letter to the President-Elect to let him know that they intend to support the goal of clean energy, underscoring that this does not include taxpayer investment of so-called "clean coal" technology or unsafe nuclear power.

The joint letter organized by theCLEAN.org (http://www.theclean.org/) and the Civil Society Institute outlined 10 needed steps for short-term economic stimulus/job creation and additional movement to a clean-energy economy. The nonprofit and nonpartisan Civil Society Institute think tank is an action-oriented research and community organizing center based in Massachusetts. CSI is a convener of a collaboration of grassroots organizations around the U.S. that are organized as TheClean.org.

The joint letter states: "We write to support your stated goals to invest in clean energy and to lead the country toward a new energy economy that will address global warming, stimulate near- and long-term economic prosperity and help ensure our national security. As you made clear in your Presidential campaign, and in statements since, a strong economy for the United States is dependent on energy efficiency, investment in clean, renewable energy technologies, investment in new energy infrastructure, and training of our workforce to transit from old energy technologies to new technologies. The benefits to the United States are clear. For every $1 million spent on clean energy 18 jobs will be created as opposed to the 7.5 jobs created per million dollars on old energy technologies ..."

The 10 steps outlined by the 67 grassroots organizations are as follows:

-- Direct the Department of Energy to build a robust EHV transmission system to provide capacity to transfer power (including wind) from one region in the United States to another;

-- Support $45 billion in immediate direct government spending for public building retrofits, expansion of mass transit, freight rail and smart grid systems;

-- Encourage homeowner use of renewable energy technologies by enacting a tax credit of $7500 for the installation and/or use of energy efficiency saving devices such as solar heating, windmills and PV to generate electricity;

-- Support $500 billion in investment in renewable energy over a 10-year period, including transiting to a new digital electricity grid;

-- Support the enactment of a renewable electricity standard of 30% by 2020, 50% by 2030, and 100% by 2050;

-- Support the extension of the production tax credit for wind projects for 10 years;

-- Support an economy-wide cap and trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 and auction carbon allowances to finance a transition to a clean energy economy, making the funds available for investment and infrastructure costs;

-- Support the enactment of domestic incentives that reward forest owners, farmers, and ranchers when they plant trees, restore grasslands or undertake farming practices that capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere;

-- Support tax credits for cars using hybrid and clean diesel technologies graded on miles per gallon efficiencies. $1500 and $3000 tax credits respectively established for cars obtaining 30 and 40 miles per gallon; and

-- Enact a moratorium on building nuclear power plants and coal fired plants in order to transit to a clean, energy efficient economy while at the same time phase in renewable and energy efficiency technologies that eliminate fossil fuel usage and nuclear power by 2050.

Civil Society Institute President and Founder Pam Solo said: "We see the agenda outlined in our letter as relevant to both short-term policies that should be part of an economic stimulus that can also build toward a new, clean energy economy. CLEAN is determined to advance the public education and involvement on these issues from the grassroots up! It is our firm conviction that it will take a concerted and coordinated grassroots mobilization to realize the serious changes being proposed by the President. While there are numerous national groups weighing in on the policy direction of the Obama Administration, very few look at what is possible from outside the Beltway. In this letter, we offer our support for the needed bold steps and the assurance of the kind of grassroots pressure that will make it possible for these steps to become the policy of the nation."

Solo noted that The Civil Society Institute has sponsored pioneering work on how near-term transitional steps for moving the U.S. toward a new energy economy. These 11 related reports can be found at http://www.civilsocietyinstitute.org/csiresearch.cfm. In May 2008, CSI sponsored a report by ACEEE on the economic/job-creation benefits of energy efficiency titled "The Size of the U.S. Energy Efficiency Market: Generating a More Complete Picture" (#E083).

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