A Conversation with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson
E2: What should be the new definition of energy manufacturing for the 21st century?
LJ: President Obama has talked about a “new era of American energy,” where our economy is fueled by homegrown and alternative energy sources designed and manufactured by Americans. This is something that has been one of the President’s priorities since he took office. The Recovery Act, for example, included the largest investment in clean energy in American history.
We need to double-down on that effort. Renewable energy use has almost doubled in the past few years; the United States is once again the world’s leading investor in clean energy; and we have great companies like EnerG2 taking hold. But it’s important that we keep working to develop energy that is cleaner, cheaper and employs more Americans, because that’s the type of energy that we need in the 21st century.”
E2: How can energy manufacturing create a high-quality permanent job base in the United States?
LJ: I’m biased, but I believe green businesses will be central to an America that is built to last – from the revitalized, efficient manufacturing and clean energy sectors, to being a destination for skilled American workers. Having a homegrown source of green energy, and leading the way in energy efficiency, is going to be a cornerstone of economic strength in the years ahead. Laying those foundations now will be part of our future success.
E2: How is environmental protection an economic driver?
LJ: “Clean communities are great places to live and start businesses, and healthy students and workers are a foundation of a healthy economy. But even beyond that, environmental protection sparks innovation, and innovation creates jobs. For example, EPA’s commonsense safeguards have spurred a multi-billion-dollar American environmental technology sector aimed at pollution control. This has supported close to two million jobs. The domestic pollution control industry now generates more than $40 billion in exports to markets all over the world.
Today, our economy and our environmental and health protection efforts are more intertwined than they have ever been. Markets continue to grow in alternative energy development and innovative environmentally-friendly products. Cities across the country, and around the world, are pouring billions into urban sustainability. Those investments put people to work and clean the environment, and they also help people save money by cutting energy costs and reducing the stress on traditional infrastructure. And, in general, more and more sectors of our economy are focused on going green as a standard part of building a profitable business. The market is at work, and it is building momentum for a truly green economy in the years ahead.”
E2: What is the best way for the public and private sectors to collaborate when it comes to 21st century energy manufacturing?
LJ: “I think the public and private sectors share many of the same goals when it comes to manufacturing. We want to make American manufacturing facilities more efficient, more sustainable, and more cost-effective – and we want to give American companies incentives to keep jobs on our shores and make their products here. EPA has a program called E3, for “Economy, Energy, Environment,” that is specifically designed to help manufacturers excel on all three of those fronts.
I also think voluntary programs like our Energy Star program, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, foster vital private-public partnerships. Energy Star harnesses the forces of the market to conserve energy and protect people’s health and the environment. It saves Americans money and gives consumers more choices. Today the program includes nearly 20,000 organizations from every sector of the economy, and four out of five Americans recognize the Energy Star label. It has been an extraordinary success so far. “
E2: How will energy manufacturing help the U.S. win the future in the global marketplace?
LJ: “What is happening at EnerG2 is exactly the future we want to see for our economy - where highly skilled American workers are making innovative products that usher us into a cleaner, more sustainable era of American energy leadership. Leading the way in this field is a vital step toward not only attracting new jobs and investments on our shores, but also toward selling our products on the global market.”
Lisa P. Jackson, EPA Administrator