The Business of the Environment
INTO LAW this year by President Obama, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides billions of dollars to businesses and government agencies in an effort to spur economic growth, rebuild infrastructure and create jobs, especially in the green jobs sector.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) share of the recovery funds is more than $7 billion and the agency will be budgeted more than $10 billion for the fiscal year 2010—the largest budgetary funding in the agency’s 39-year history.
Some promotional products distributors may be saying, “So what?” but the most savvy are saying, “So what can I provide for these new businesses?” After all, construction crews need safety gear, environmental programs need marketing campaigns and politicians have to remind voters just what a good job they’re doing. Sounds like a pretty good road is ahead for the promotional product industry—if you know where to look, that is.
Here is a sample of some of the projects the EPA is currently working on or planning on starting in the near future, from www.epa.gov:
• Water Infrastructure Improvements for Communities: $4 billion for state clean water funding and $2 billion for state drinking water funding. 20 percent of this funding will be targeted toward green infrastructure, water and energy efficiency, and environmentally innovative projects.
• Brownfield Restorations: $100 million for grants to clean up and return former industrial and commercial sites to their communities for productive use. $5 million dollars is set aside for job training in the assessment and remediation of these sites.
• Diesel Emissions Reductions: $300 million for grants and loans to help regional, state and local governments, tribes and nonprofit organizations with projects that reduce harmful diesel emissions from vehicles like school buses, garbage trucks, construction equipment, marine vessels and locomotives. Reducing emissions helps to reduce the risk of asthma, respiratory illnesses and premature deaths.
• Accelerating Superfund Site Cleanups: $600 million for the cleanup of hazardous wastes from sites. The EPA will use this funding to increase the pace of cleanups already underway, and return the sites to communities for productive use.
• Accelerating Leaking Underground Storage Tank Cleanups: $200 million for the cleanup of petroleum leaks that occurred from underground storage tanks. There are approximately 100,000 sites eligible for cleanup where leaks threaten soil or water quality or are potentially fire or explosion hazards.
Even in an economic downturn, there are sales to be made and new markets to be cracked. The stimulus package, whether one agrees or disagrees with it, is providing money to businesses everyday. The companies contracting aren’t government-owned, but they will be getting a nice infusion of government cash. Perhaps the time has come to abandoned the dried-up ponds and, as they say, go fishing were the fish are—even if it’s in a brownfield restoration zone.