WASHINGTON (January 15, 2009) -- Karen Wayland, legislative director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, released the following statement in response to the stimulus proposal unveiled today by the House of Representatives:
“This proposal takes positive steps toward moving America toward a clean energy future with important investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy, but the bill needs more to improve our country’s transportation and water infrastructure.
“Clean energy investments in the bill such as loan guarantees for renewable energy, weatherization of low-income family homes, and a boost to our country's research and development budget will help repower America, create new jobs and reduce our dependence on oil. These are important steps in moving America toward clean energy that will cut global warming pollution and jump-start our economic recovery.
“Fixing our deteriorating transportation infrastructure and investing in projects that are ready to go will create a transit system for the 21st century. Unfortunately, the proposal includes cuts from Chairman Oberstar's blueprint for transportation infrastructure funding. At a time of erratic energy prices, Congress should use this opportunity to move America away from highways and toward railways and mass transit. The transportation component of the stimulus package underfunds mass transit in deference to highways and bridges, which receive $30 billion compared to $10 billion for public transit and rail.
“Our nation’s water and waste infrastructure, which is in serious and dangerous disrepair, must be fixed. Investing in the rehabilitation of the existing water system and next generation technologies will create jobs and protect this important resource. Unfortunately, water infrastructure is severely underfunded in Congress's plan for our nation’s economic recovery.
“As the debate over the stimulus continues, NRDC will continue to urge Congress to make the necessary investments to put America on the path to a clean energy future that creates millions of jobs and restores our nation’s infrastructure.”