While much notoriety stems from not a single Republican lawmaker supporting it, yesterday the House approved the $819 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act with a final vote of 244-188. But the stimulus will draw much attention to greening the future, since more than $100 billion in direct spending will go to clean energy, retrofitting buildings, a smart grid, cleanups, and more. A few highlights are $14.6 billion for public transportation, $37.9 billion for energy efficiency, and $27.8 billion for renewable energy. The bill will move to the Senate where they will not vote until next week, and it looks to be $68 billion larger.
Not all is well though. In the Senate bill, there’s $50 billion in loan guarantees for the nuclear industry. "The nuclear industry has given millions of dollars to politicians, an investment that appears to be paying off," Friends of the Earth President Brent Blackwelder commented. "Senators are supposed to be fixing the economy but instead they're offering the nuclear industry a $50 billion gift that will create virtually no near-term jobs. It's unconscionable. Lobbyists are probably popping champagne corks as we speak.
Even more disappointing were the coal supporters that added $4.6 billion for the industry into the Senate bill. That’s double the house version, including $2 billion for "near-zero emissions" power plants, $1 billion for the Department of Energy's Clean Coal Power Initiative, and $1.6 billion for carbon capture industrial plants. We've said it before but there's no such thing as clean coal.