Green Obama Wish List: 30 Groups And 7 Executive Orders

12/18/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Dave Burdick Man about Boulder:,,

Now that Barack Obama is on his way to the White House, it seems his to-do list is getting longer and longer -- and it's not all about the automakers or the Treasury. Environmental groups, many also holding long views of the financial and physical security of the United States, have started making up their wish lists for a greener administration.

Treehugger reports that the Center for Progressive Reform has put together a list of seven executive orders it would like to see define an early and strongObama energy, climate and health policy, including:

1. Reduce the Federal Carbon Footprint

The new President should issue an Executive Order requiring each federal agency to measure, report, and reduce its carbon footprint. Not only would the Executive Order have a meaningful impact on the federal government's carbon emissions, it could also lead to the creation of uniform, practical standards for measuring such footprints, standards that could be applied government-wide and beyond. Each of the provisions of this proposed Order is consistent with the goals of the National Environmental Policy Act.

4. Environmental Justice

The next President should amend or replace the original Executive Order [12898] on Environmental Justice. The new Order should require a meaningful analysis of the environmental justice impacts and implications of all major new rules; impose on agencies a substantive obligation to take affirmative steps to ameliorate environmental injustice; launch an affirmative Environmental Justice agenda; hold agencies accountable for carrying out their environmental justice obligations; and clarify key terms from the current Order, including "environmental justice communities" and "subsistence," to avoid the kind of narrow interpretation of the terms applied by the Bush Administration. As is the case with the existing Executive Order on Environmental Justice, these recommendations are consistent with the goals of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

And Grist reports that 30 green groups had assembled their wish list for Obama climate and energy policy:

Their plans are largely consistent with what Obama campaigned on, and the groups are encouraging both the president-elect and Congress to use those plans as part of a larger economic recovery program. They call for reducing emissions at least 80 percent by 2050 and plans to move the country toward 100 percent renewable electricity.

The groups also urge the incoming president to grant California a waiver for tailpipe emissions standards, and to "use the Clean Air Act to declare that global warming pollution endangers public health and welfare and to set standards for power plants, vehicles, and fuels" (which Obama's advisers have said he could do).

Among the desired policies were to "use the Clean Air Act to declare that global warming pollution endangers public health and welfare," which reminds us a bit of the recent significant EPA decision that will hold coal plants to stricter standards.

And that's not all.

The renewable energy industry is hoping to get something more closely resembling a level playing field with the fossil fuel industry, and they've outlined their Obama energy policy wish list, too.

Fortune's Green Wombat blog reports that it includes, among other things, a five-year extension of the production tax credit for the wind industry and a major infrastructure upgrade:

"If the administration and Congress can quickly implement these policies, renewable energy growth will help turn around the economic decline while at the same time addressing some of our most pressing national security and environmental problems," the green energy trade groups said in a joint statement.

No doubt those measures are crucial to spurring development of renewable energy and creating green collar jobs. But the major obstacle confronting the alt energy industry right now is the credit crunch that is choking off financing for big wind and solar projects and scaring away investors from more cutting-edge but potentially promising green technologies.

A focus by President Obama and Congress on restoring confidence in the financial system will most likely do the most for green investment as well as restore luster to battered renewable energy stocks like First Solar (FSLR), SunPower (SPWRA) and Suntech (STP).