Obama: make green jobs the No. 1 priority in Appalachia

posted by Rainforest Action Network

Listening to the Obama’s State of the Union address last night, I was encouraged to hear that job creation is the President’s number one priority for 2010.

Well, here is some required reading for achieving that aim: last week’s report from Downstream Strategies in Morgantown, WV:

“The Decline of Central Appalachian Coal and the Need for Economic Diversification”

This report sets out the stark reality of the huge job loss in Central Appalachia since mountaintop removal coal replaced more traditional methods.

The good news is that there is an easy solution to replace the jobs and energy production – by stimulation local-owned renewable energy projects, through these five steps:

1) require that 25% of each state’s energy portfolio come from truly renewable energy sources by 2025;

2) incentivize the investment in and production of renewable energy resources, using mechanisms such as a Renewable Energy Production Incentive;

3) provide grants, tax credits, clean energy bonds, or low-interest loans to support the development of energy projects and the manufacture of component parts;

4) finance the development of fine-scale resource maps to identify locations for developing projects; and

5) create state-funded wind anemometer and Sonic Detection and Ranging loan programs to facilitate the measurement of local wind resources and support distributed wind energy development.