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OregonLive: Oregon could land green jobs

by Richard Read

Tuesday September 09, 2008, 11:39 AM


Solaic employee Yer Cha moves an ingot of silicon to the grinder at Solaicx’s plant in North Portland, which makes silicon ingots for solar wafers and cells.Oregon would gain such jobs under a national green economic recovery program proposed by a Washington, D.C. think tank.


Oregon could gain more than 27,000 jobs as part of a $100 billion national green economic recovery program proposed today by a Washington, D.C. think tank.

The state’s unemployment rate could drop to 4.1 percent in two years, the authors estimated, from its June level of 5.5 percent. (The rate hit 6 percent in July).

The Center for American Progress — headed by John Podesta, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton — released the report written by economists from the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

The Green Economic Recovery Program is designed to stimulate economic growth, stabilize the price of oil, fight global warming and build a low-carbon economy. The authors advocate retrofitting buildings, expanding mass transit and freight rail, improving electricity-distribution systems and expanding production of wind power, solar power and advanced biofuels.

The authors predicted the program would create 2 million jobs nationally in two years, reducing U.S. unemployment from 5.7 percent to 4.4. percent. It would be financed by $50 billion in tax credits, $46 billion in direct government spending and $4 billion in federal loan guarantees.

The program would especially target construction and manufacturing, two sectors lagging during the current economic downturn. Building wind farms, for example, would create jobs for sheet-metal workers, machinists and truck drivers, among others, the authors wrote.

In Oregon, proposed public- and private-sector investments of almost $1.2 billion would break down as follows:

— $476 million for energy-efficient building retrofits.

— $357 million for advanced biofuels and wind and solar power.

— $238 million for mass transit and freight rail.

— $119 million for more efficient energy distribution.

To read the report, click here.

— Richard Read


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