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Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Remarks at the Grand Opening of Ventower Wind Turbine Manufacturing Facility in Monroe, Michigan, As Prepared

08/09/2011
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As prepared for delivery.

The last time I was in Michigan it was to announce funding for brownfields projects in seven communities throughout this state, all that were part of $75 million in brownfields grants that went to communities across the country. I am proud to be back in Michigan today to celebrate a project that demonstrates the extraordinary promise of EPA’s brownfields investments, and their ability to restore economic potential and create jobs by cleaning up our communities.

What we see here today is a project that returns brownfields to productive use while preserving green space, and supports a clean energy economy that is cutting pollution and putting people to work. Speaking of putting people to work, this project is expected to create 150 new, green jobs in its first phase, and up to 300 jobs for American workers as the work here continues. This is also a true public-private partnership, brought to life with funding through a combination of private equity and federal, state and local sources and incentives. Last but not least, the facility here has incorporated Green building strategies in its construction.

Ventower deserves credit for tackling the complex environmental issues associated with this site. When it might have been easier to locate on a traditional site, they seized an opportunity to “walk the walk” of their environmental and economic commitments, strengthening the community where their workers live.

This is one of many projects on a long list of success stories for EPA’s brownfields program. It’s a story that can be told throughout Michigan and across the US. Since the program began nine years ago, about $88 million in grants have leveraged almost a billion dollars in private sector investments and created about 8,700 new jobs here in Michigan. Across the nation, brownfields investments and training initiatives have helped create 70,000 new American jobs.

The bottom line is, we’re getting pollution out of these communities – and helping companies like Ventower put jobs back in.

Just as President Obama has said many times – and as I have seen in places all across the nation – we don’t have to choose between protecting our health and the environment and strengthening our economy. Michigan has become a prime example of that truth. We see it in the advanced battery facilities that are setting up shop around the state – creating jobs and making our vehicles cleaner and more efficient. We see it in Detroit, where the auto companies are making profits and hiring workers to help develop the next generation of innovative, fuel efficient cars and trucks for American drivers. And of course we see it right here. The once-polluted sites here were a threat to the health, the economy and the environment in Monroe. But their cleanup has led to new jobs and helped make the entire community a stronger place to raise a family or start a business. Those benefits will spread as the wind turbines manufactured here help America compete in the global clean energy manufacturing industry. That will mean both new jobs and clean sources of power.

I look forward to continuing these efforts to create jobs and build healthier, more prosperous communities here in Michigan and throughout our nation. Thank you very much.