Obtaining Stimulus Funds Comes With "Green" Strings Attached

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On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The Act is an extraordinary response to the slowdown plaguing the United States economy. Among the ARRA's goals are stabilization of the economy, modernization of the nation's energy and transportation infrastructure, providing education funding to increase the skills of the American workforce, and improving access to affordable healthcare. Funds from the ARRA are provided either in the form of grants, which require the grantee to share a percentage of the project costs (usually 50%), or low interest loans. As part of President Obama's goal of promoting transparency and accountability in government spending, the administration required all departments to create a Recovery Act website and provide weekly updates to the public concerning their implementation of the Act....

....Although the ARRA's stated goal is to distribute funds to "shovel ready projects" as quickly as possible in order to promote job creation, this must be balanced against the need to assess the potential environmental impact of any project. The ARRA is subject to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which adds a significant layer of bureaucratic hurdles to overcome prior to project approval.

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