Clean Air Act Will Create Jobs, Save Environment

by Guest Blogger

October 21, 2011

Last week, the EPA fired back on Capitol Hill at an investigation that claims the EPA and Transportation Department are carrying out closed-door deals with the auto companies in an effort to promote the EPA’s Clean Air Act and upcoming fuel standards.

Republican Darrell Issa currently chairs the committee that is leading the investigation, claiming that the regulations found within fuel regulations of the Clean Air Act will be detrimental to the average consumer. He is also asking for a list of the names of all the people that took part in forming the rules on fuel regulation.

It is an interesting accusation Mr. Issa is making, in saying that the regulations will have “negative impacts on consumers.” In a Politico piece published on October 12, EPA Air Chief Gina McCarthy noted that, since the Clean Air Act was passed 40 years ago, U.S. gross domestic product has increased by 200 percent, much of which was due to the environmental goods and services created through the regulations. She also noted that, with the new fuel standards that will be finalized in 2025, consumers will use less gas, thus saving them money and reducing toxic greenhouse gas emissions that pollute our atmosphere.

Team CanadaAt the Solar Decathlon in Washington, DC, Team Canada draws their inspiration for their solar home from the tipi, a tent commonly used by nomadic tribes of the Great Plains. Photo by Karuna Ang.

A lot of focus right now in the life of the average American is on the economy. Given the economic state the world is currently experiencing, it is time that people start focusing on clean, sustainable energy. The GOP accuses that green energy promotion “kills” jobs, and that the regulations of the Clean Air Act will be devastating to the job industry. Where is the proof?

It seems as though all this rhetoric of “job killing” is coming from the supporters of the wallets of these GOP members. For example, in 2006, 89 percent of ExxonMobil’s donations went to Republicans. In the 2012 election cycle thus far, Koch Industries have contributed $430,750 to Republicans, compared to the $16,500 contributed to Democrats. Mr. Issa’s name was on that list, might I note, already receiving a nice contribution of $4,000 from Koch.

It is time that the American people stand up against the practices really going on behind closed doors. In a study conducted at UC Berkeley’s Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory, research found that, over a 10-year period, 5.65 jobs are created for every million dollars invested in the solar energy industry and 5.70 jobs are created for every million dollars invested in the wind energy industry. This is compared to the 3.96 jobs created for every million dollars invested in the coal industry.

Team TennesseeThe University of Tennessee team uses cylindrical modules on their roof that capture sunlight across a 360 surface. Photo by Karuna Ang.

Not only would green energy create jobs, but it would also reduce the average spending of Americans. The current energy required to power, heat, and cool a house is expensive and unfriendly to the environment. Solar and wind energy is an alternative, one that is sustainable and eco-friendly. Previously mentioned was the cost of fuel. If all cars have to meet a MPG standard aimed at reducing toxic emissions, citizens would pay substantially less at the pump.

It is shocking that an idea so simple is so hard to promote because industries are pumping millions of dollars annually into the pockets of politicians, making who are supposed to be the voice of the people, the puppet of the industry. In a new age of innovation, sustainability, and clean energy options, it is time that the people reclaim their voice.

Matthew is a youth blogger at Greenpeace, USA.

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