Published December 2, 2008 08:48 AM

Obama Embraces 'Green Path' in Stimulus Plan to Aid Environment

Dec. 2 (Bloomberg) -- President-electBarack Obama is considering a stimulus package that will include a heavy dose of spending on environmentally friendly projects aimed at creating “green-collar jobs” and saving energy.

While the package will focus on short-term outlays for traditional infrastructure projects to jumpstart an economy now officially declared to be in recession, it will also include longer-term measures to safeguard the environment.

“Clean energy is going to be a foundation for rebuilding the American economy,” said Bracken Hendricks, an analyst at the Democratic-leaningCenter for American Progress and an adviser to the presidential-transition team. Generating jobs in concert with cutting pollution will be “a major component” of any economic-recovery plan, Hendricks said.


Obama wants to enact a recovery package soon after his inauguration as “evidence suggests the pace of this downturn is accelerating,” Lawrence Summers, the president-elect’s pick for White House economic adviser, said yesterday. Opinions vary over how big the stimulus should be, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid saying $500 billion would be sufficient, while Senators Dick Durbin of Illinois, Obama’s closest Senate ally, and Charles Schumer of New York argue that an infusion of as much as $700 billion is warranted.

Obama adviser Jared Bernstein and other economists say that money could help fund at least $50 billion in environmentally sound infrastructure projects that could be up and running within a few months. Among the steps along the “green path,” Bernstein said, could be a requirement that repairs made to public buildings be environmentally friendly.

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