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Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Remarks Announcing $95 Million in Recovery Act Funds for Electric Vehicle Battery Technology, As Prepared

08/21/2009
Read the blog and see photos from this event.

As prepared for delivery.

The global growth industry of the 21st century is clean energy. If we seize this moment, we can create millions of jobs – good jobs that can’t be sent overseas. We can reduce our dependence on foreign oil. And we can protect the planet for our children’s futures.

President Obama has called for us to unleash American innovators, engineers, workers and entrepreneurs. He has called on us to catch and surpass clean energy leaders like Germany, Korea, and Japan. We need to get into the race – and today we’re firing the starting gun.

Today, the President, the Vice President, and several Administration officials have traveled to communities in states across the country. I’m proud to join them in announcing $2.4 billion in Recovery Act grants to create new jobs and lead us into a clean energy future.

Those grants will spur new development and new jobs in battery manufacturing, hybrid and electric vehicle components manufacturing, and electric transport systems demonstrations. That will create more than 50,000 manufacturing jobs across the nation – including here in Florida.

In Jacksonville, we are awarding a $95.5 million grant for battery manufacturing. Saft America’s Industrial Battery Group, working with Johnson Controls, Inc., will build a factory capable of delivering the equivalent of 20,000 Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle – or PHEV – batteries. That new factory will create more than 800 new jobs in the community in three years. It will be a key component in helping us reach the goal of one million PHEVs by 2015.

We’re also awarding $30 million to deploy up to 150 plug in hybrid electric vehicles – manufactured in the US, by Ford plants in Michigan and Missouri – with 15 of America's leading utilities, including Progress Energy in St. Petersburg. By creating a unified, national approach for testing and development of plug in hybrid technologies and infrastructure, we can help make these vehicles more affordable and bring them to market more quickly.

Partnership efforts like this, in which manufacturers of electric vehicles are working with utilities to make plug in hybrids work for consumers, are happening in Texas, New York, California, Washington state, the Carolinas and other locations across the US. That will create and/or save more than 1,500 U.S. jobs. It’s also estimated to reduce petroleum consumption by 740,000 gallons over the two year test period.

Finally, a truck stop in Ormond, Florida, near Daytona Beach, will be electrified to allow trucks to stop idling. That will reduce harmful air pollution while saving truckers money.

These grants, in addition to aiding our recovery, have a wide range of benefits.

They will help make our transportation sector cleaner by removing some of the most harmful pollution from the air – something I know people in Florida understand.

These hot humid days raise dangerous levels of ozone and other particulates in the air. Kids can’t go outside and play. People with asthma have trouble breathing. And everyone is exposed to pollution that can create lifelong health problems.

Over the years at EPA, we’ve learned that using another kind of cleaner fuel, clean diesel, we can save $13 in public health costs for every dollar we invest.

Just imagine the savings and quality of life improvements we can achieve by moving to clean energy hybrids that have even lower emissions.

These grants are getting private capital off the sidelines and investing in small business. Along with the $2.4 billion in Recovery Act funds, private companies have committed another $2.4 billion of private capital investment into our auto and battery manufacturing industries.

More than $100 million in grants is going to help smaller companies developing emerging technologies. Nearly $29 million in grants will go to seven universities and educational institutions across the U.S. Those grants will help American workers get the education and training they need for new clean energy jobs.

And finally, these grants will create real benefits for consumers. The energy used in driving a plug-in hybrid costs the equivalent of 75 cents per gallon. Running our cars on electricity will also protect drivers from the fluctuations in imported oil prices.

And cars that are more efficient and burn less fuel will help make the air cleaner for everyone around them — protecting our children’s health and reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

We are working to seize all the opportunities of this moment. We are propelling America into global leadership in innovative battery manufacturing, and positioning our auto industry to reclaim the lead in producing the cars of the 21st century. And we are laying a new foundation for prosperity with new jobs in clean energy.

I look forward to working with all of you to move this effort forward. Thank you very much.