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Going, Going ...

Clean energy jobs will be gone soon, if America fails to commit.

Fortnightly Magazine - December 2011

national defense. And, importantly, a Sputnik commitment would provide the United States with millions of jobs.

A lack of commitment will still result in new investment and millions of jobs—just not in America.

A Sputnik Moment

President Kennedy’s goal to close any illusion of a space technology gap between the Soviet Union and U.S. was met with Neil Armstrong’s “one small step for [a] man; one giant leap for mankind.” Today, President Obama has established the goals of 80 percent of U.S. energy coming from clean generation sources by 2035 and closing the clean energy gap that exists between the U.S. and other countries like China. This is an admirable goal, but not if American workers aren’t at the forefront of developing and manufacturing the next clean energy resource.

America can be the innovator and leading exporter of clean energy technology in a $2.3 trillion market, or we can be a major importer. What we can’t be is an indifferent “porter.” The train is leaving the station full of future energy jobs. The destination should be the U.S. homeland, but it takes more than politicians’ speeches to create job opportunities. It requires hands-on action—a John Kennedy commitment, a Steve Jobs imagination, the force of Ronald Reagan and, above all, Americans helping Americans.

 

Endnotes:

1. World Energy Outlook, 2011, (Executive Summary), p. 2, International Energy Agency.

2. World Energy Outlook, 2011, “Cumulative investment in energy infrastructure, 2011-2035.”

3. Atomic Energy Act of 1946, 60 Stat. 765 (1946) (current version at 42 U.S.C. § 2011 et seq.) (2006).

4. Atomic Energy Act of 1954, 68 Stat. 921 (1954) (current version at 42 U.S.C. § 2011 et seq.) (2006).

5. See http://www.energy.gov/about/timeline 1971-1980.htm , last visited July 22, 2009.

6. Energy Policy and Conservation Act, 94 Pub. L. No. 163, 89 Stat. 874 (1975) (current version at 42 U.S.C. § 6201 et seq.) (2006).

7. National Energy Act of 1978 comprised five separate statutes: the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, Pub. L. No. 95-617, 92 Stat. 3117 (1978) (16 U.S.C. §§ 796(17)-(18), 824a-3, 824i, 824k (2006); the Energy Tax Act of 1978, Pub. L. No. 95-618, 92 Stat. 3174 (1978 ); the National Energy Conservation Policy Act, Pub. L. No. 95-619, 92 Stat. 3206 (1978); the Powerplant and Industrial Fuel Use Act of 1978, Pub. L. No. 95-620, 92 Stat. 3289 (1978); and the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978, Pub. L. No. 95-621, 92 Stat. 3351 (1978).

8. Energy Security Act of 1980, Pub. L. No. 96-294, 94 Stat. 718 (1980) (16 U.S.C. §§ 2705, 2708) (2006).

9. Energy Policy Act of 1992, Pub. L. No. 102-486, 106 Stat. 2776 (1992) (codified as amended in scattered sections of U.S.C.) (2006).

10. The Clinton Presidency: Protecting Our Environment and Public Health.

11. Energy Policy Act of 2005, Pub. L. No. 109-58, 119 Stat. 594 (2005) (codified as amended in scattered sections of U.S.C.) (2006).

12. Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, Pub. L. No. 110-140, 121 Stat. 1492 (2007) (codified as amended in scattered sections of U.S.C.) (2006).

13. American Reinvestment