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Wednesday, April 22, 2009 04:55 am

Obama sees green

Group traces federal dollars for Illinois

Illinois environmental advocates say that as President Barack Obama goes green, so will the state’s bank account.

In a report released last week, Environment Illinois, a nonprofit environmental advocacy organization, announced that new initiatives in Obama’s proposed fiscal year 2010 budget could inject at least $29 billion into the state over the next 10 years.

“We wanted to provide an Illinois-specific breakdown of the impact of several environment issues — things we’ve been trying to make progress on for a really long time,” program director Max Muller says.

Obama’s federal budget proposal includes $646 billion in revenues nationwide from cap-and-trade provisions. Environment Illinois estimates that if revenues were apportioned on a per capita basis, the state would receive $27.4 billion over the 10-year period.

The president suggests using $150 billion from potential cap-and-trade revenues to invest in wind and solar energy. The report points out that 18 companies in Illinois could benefit, including Midstate Renewable Energy Services in Champaign.

Obama’s proposed budget invests $2.4 billion in the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, a program that allocates funds for state sewer improvements. Under the proposed formula, Illinois could receive $90.2 million. The report cites that 90 state facilities — including the Spring and Sugar Creek branches of the Springfield Metro Sanitary District — exceeded pollution limits in 2005.

Environment Illinois includes a section on Superfund sites, the worst toxic waste sites in the nation as defined by the Environmental Protection Agency. According to the report, there are 1,258 in the country and six in Illinois. If Obama reinstates the national “polluter pays” fee, which collects money from polluting power plants, $17.2 billion in revenues could go toward national cleanup efforts.

The report concludes that if Obama eliminates subsidies to the oil industry, more than $30 billion could be saved for American taxpayers. That translates into $1.5 billion in relief for Illinois.

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