Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stimulus Bill Promises Environmental, Public Lands Jobs

On February 9, Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar announced that the House and Senate versions of the Economic Stimulus Bill before Congress would "create an estimated 100,000 jobs over the next two years. Both the House and Senate versions of the ($838-900 billion appropriations) bill include over $4 billion in investments in conservation projects, water infrastructure, roads, Native American schools, and other ready-to-go projects." Within Interior, over 80,000 new jobs are linked to program appropriations. Others are not as specific. The largest number are linked to a $1.7 billion National Park Service appropriation to address many problems within the decaying park system and creating 50,000 jobs. A matching Park Service grant program called the Centennial program adds another 5800. US Fish and Wildlife estimates adding 11,000 jobs, BLM infrastructural and environmental cleanup and fire fuel reduction require 8400 hires. US Geological Survey upgrading of scientific facilities adds 5000 jobs. The Park Service will also receive $200 million and seek matching funds for restoration of National Mall monuments, with an unnamed number of accompanying jobs. These employment numbers pale next to EPA estimates of over 403,000 jobs to be created for EPA clean water and toxics programs including Superfund site cleanups. The stimulus bill estimates another 21,000 jobs related to US Forest Service activities including wildfire management...Arizona Range News

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