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Green Jobs for Our Health and Our Economy

2011 July 12

This post is cross posted from the  “Huffington Post”

By Administrator Lisa P. Jackson

With the economy on the minds of millions of Americans, President Obama continues to make job creation this administration’s top priority. Today the U.S Environmental Protection Agency is following through on that priority by supporting the creation of good, green jobs for Americans across the country.

The EPA is awarding more than $6.2 million in workforce development and job training grants to 21 communities nationwide. Organizations receiving grant support — ranging from a state environmental agency to community-based groups — will use it to train job-seekers, giving them the tools they need to manage, assess and clean up contaminated properties known as brownfields. In addition to providing marketable skills, part of the grant funding will help place those newly trained workers into available employment — creating a straight line between our investment and new jobs.

The environmental, health and economic benefits of brownfields cleanups are extensive and long-lasting. Brownfields sites are places like old gas stations, closed smelters and other industrial and commercial properties that have been left too contaminated to be safely redeveloped. The training programs supported by today’s grants will help graduates revitalize these sites with skills like solid waste management, underground storage tank removal, green construction and clean energy installation.

But this is about more than just creating jobs for one or two cleanup projects. The workers trained under these grants will be strengthening the conditions needed for healthy, sustainable job growth in their own communities. Rather than sitting idle and posing threats to the health of local residents, the revitalized sites can be safely transformed into parks or new economic developments. Since its inception, the brownfields program has sparked the transformation of once-abandoned and contaminated lands into business centers, recreational areas and other developments. That renewal sparks job creation, economic growth and healthier, stronger communities to raise a family and start a business.

The public and private partnerships fostered through the brownfields program have helped create more than 70,000 new jobs. And, as of June 1, 2011, the brownfields job training program alone has trained and placed almost 5,400 people in full-time, sustainable jobs.

Under President Obama’s leadership, we will continue to push for good, green jobs in communities across the nation. It makes perfect sense to seize the abundant opportunities to put people to work protecting the air we breathe, the water we drink and the lands where we build our communities. We can get the important economic benefits of new jobs, while we help make our communities better places to raise a family free from health risks, or to start a business knowing that problems in the environment aren’t going to turn away customers or make workers call in sick.

In other words, we can show that we don’t have to choose between breathing clean air and drinking clean water or creating good jobs. We can do them all at the same time.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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3 Responses leave one →
  1. N.K.Agarwal permalink
    July 12, 2011

    This seems to be a good and proactive idea to clan environment and create jobs but, when all the “Brownfields” are reclaimed or transformed into “Greemfields”, such job opportunities decline and the trained workers would become jobless? thnks

  2. armansyahardanis permalink
    July 12, 2011

    Green Job : Restricted & Short Term; Greener : Long Term !!!

    I hope green job, beside working in its description, at the same time also urge their family, community and neighbor to become greener since early. Green jobs aren’t goal but medium to create environmentalists, because the other jobs have significant, too. So, we can eliminate comparison between green job and the others….

  3. S Colley permalink
    July 13, 2011

    From my travels around the country, I don’t think N.K. Agarwal needs to worry about ALL the “Brownfields” being reclaimed or transformed into “Greenfields” any time soon. I would like to see a program where the young, unemployed and underemployed could have a viable job in the brownfields program. This should also include turning abandoned properties that are paved back into natural areas or parks to mitigate stormwater runoff, provide clean air and recreational opportunities, and reduce the urban heat island effect. The removed concrete paved material can be used for retaining walls, channel lining (in high erosion areas) levee construction, or artificial reefs. Asphalt paving can be re-processed. If this task were added to the brownfields program, we would have job opportunities for many people for many years. Combine the program with modifications to the tax code to add carrot/stick incentives to property owners who own abandoned paved properties.

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