Obama Making Good on Green Promises

Obama is leading with green—from raising hopes for stricter emissions standards to a stimulus package favoring green jobs.© my.barackobama.com

As though making up for lost time, the federal government has initiated a whirlwind of activity over greening the economy since Inauguration Day just two weeks ago. For starters, President Obama froze all pending eleventh hour Bush administration rule changes, including those affecting endangered species listings and other contentious environmental issues. The new administration then let it be known that it would grant California a waiver to regulate automobile tailpipe emissions and to increase fuel efficiency standards for cars there. With California such a large part of the American automobile market and upwards of a dozen other states willing to follow its regulatory lead, the implications are profound for the auto industry as a whole. Consumers can expect greener product lines coming online quickly out of Detroit and from the world’s other automakers as well.

"Just days into office, President Obama is showing America and the world that he will lead our country in a bold new direction to protect the environment and fight global warming," said Frances Beinecke of the influential Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental non-profit. "These actions are a clear demonstration that President Obama recognizes the urgency of moving America to clean energy and tackling the climate crisis in 2009."

Even more promising is Congress" willingness to tow the line on Obama’s vision of a "green" stimulus package which will not only bail out the troubled economy but launch America into a position of leadership on sustainability-oriented products, technologies and services. Last week the House of Representatives passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which includes some $100 billion to fund public transportation, energy efficiency and renewable energy development. While the Senate version may water down some of the greener aspects of the bill as passed by the House, environmentalists are siding with President Obama who hopes the bill he sees on his desk will represent a dramatic step forward for the country, the economy and the climate.

Sources: NRDC; Associated Press; Grist