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Grassley welcomes estimate of green jobs in stimulus

Agriculture.com Staff 12/15/2009 @ 3:19pm

Vice President Joe Biden released a report early today that says the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the economic stimulus bill passed early this year, will create some 700,000 new jobs in green industries, including wind, solar and advanced biofuels. In the process, the nation's output of renewable energy will double in just three years.

At a press conference Monday, Biden's chief economic adviser, Jared Bernstein, said "This is a progress report," and the estimates of job creation weren’t really new. Nor have estimates of government job creation broken out green jobs so far. But the federal government's investment is ramping up. The Depart of Energy recently hired 2,500 people to review grant applications, said Carol Browner, who heads the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy.

According to Biden's report, Recovery Act investments in renewable generation and advanced energy manufacturing of $23 billion will likely create 253,000 jobs and leverage over $43 billion in additional investment that could support up to 469,000 more jobs.

Earlier this month, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced their departments have awarded some $600 million in investment in biorefineries. That includes a $54.5 million USDA loan gurantee to Saphire Energy, which plans to make diesel and jet fuel from algae grown in ponds near Columbus, New Mexico. Among the DOE grants, nearly $25 million will go to ADM for a pilot plant to use acid to break down biomass for production of ethanol and ethanol and ethyl acrylate. Some $2.5 million will go to Elevance Renewable Sciences in Newton, Iowa, to make jet fuel and renewable diesel fuel substitutes from plant oils and poultry fat.

When asked about the report Tuesday, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said that he's supportive. When it comes to federal backing of more energy independence, "I've always said, 'All of the above,'" Grassley said. And, while he's been disappointed in EPA delays in supporting existing biofuels, he supports other sources of new energy, including more nuclear power, he said.

Biden's report comes at the Obama administration is doing all it can to boost domestic and international backing for fighting global warming ahead of the President's visit to a U.N. conference on climate change in Copenhagen, Denmark. But Grassley said he consider U.S. cap and trade legislation to be harmful to U.S. agriculture and job creation at home.

Click here for a full list of DOE grants for advanced biofuels.

Vice President Joe Biden released a report early today that says the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the economic stimulus bill passed early this year, will create some 700,000 new jobs in green industries, including wind, solar and advanced biofuels. In the process, the nation's output of renewable energy will double in just three years.

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