Like you, dear reader, Auntie Ruth is pondering the headline on Sena Christian’s story over there to the left. Where have all the green jobs gone? Indeed, that is the question. What’s behind those 3.5 million green jobs that allegedly will be created or saved by the $787 billion economic-stimulus package passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in February? For starters, there’s the $7.2 billion that goes to Environmental Protection Agency-administered projects and programs. Of course, that’s in U.S. currency, which will be worth who knows what by the time you’re reading this. But I digress.
Here’s the breakdown on the EPA’s $7.2 billion. Most of it, $6 billion, goes to the EPA’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. Two-thirds of that, $4 billion, will be spent on water quality and wastewater infrastructure in communities across the nation, including Sacramento. The remaining third, $2 billion, will be spent on drinking-water infrastructure. Normally, ensuring the safety of the water supply isn’t something Auntie would be inclined to call a “green job”—after all, it’s been the law of the land since the Clean Water Act of 1977. Whatever. Count it. Just one-fifth of the $6 billion total, $1.2 billion, must be spent specifically on sustainable or otherwise green projects and programs.
That’s just the EPA’s slice of the stimulus pie. According to the Apollo Alliance, which bills itself as “a coalition of labor, business, environmental, and community leaders working to catalyze a clean energy revolution that will put millions of Americans to work,” there’s some $86 billion more up for grabs for states, municipalities and crafty entrepreneurs seeking to capitalize on both the stimulus package and the green revolution. More information is available at http://apolloalliance.org. In the meantime, prospective green employees are advised to remain patient. In regard to stimulus packages, an old sea dog once told Auntie it’s like trying to avoid hitting an iceberg with an ocean liner. You turn the rudder, and six months later, the ship turns. The green jobs are coming, if we don’t sink the ship first.