U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today released the following statement about Tennessee’s leadership potential in the development of pollution reducing initiatives that combat climate change following a Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hearing on “green” jobs.
“Because Tennessee is a biofuels state, reducing carbon dioxide emissions will rejuvenate our farm economy,” said Alexander, after the hearing that discussed jobs that could be created by climate change initiatives. “In today’s economy, we create more jobs than we lose, but many of those jobs are shifting from rural communities to more urban and suburban areas. Climate change legislation that emphasizes biofuels would change this trend and begin to raise family incomes in the rural areas being left behind by globalization.”
Alexander, a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, said the economic benefit of the Tennessee Biofuels Initiative, a partnership between the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, would bring:
• 4,000 new jobs in rural Tennessee counties
• $400 million in new state and local revenues annually
• Additional plants supporting biofuel production would create 3,000 more jobs and $1 billion in additional annual revenue from producing the chemicals used to process biofuels
• $100 million annually in new farm revenue to about 20,000 of the state’s producers
• 1 billion gallons of Grassoline (ethanol fuels) annually at the potential wholesale price of $1.20 per gallon. This level of production would displace approximately 30 percent of Tennessee’s present petroleum-based consumption.
This August, while speaking in Jackson, Tenn., Alexander said “ethanol made from switchgrass could be as big for raising incomes for rural communities in Tennessee as bringing the auto industry was for towns and cities.”
In addition, Alexander said that Tennessee is positioned to be a leader in solar energy. He said Sharp Corporation, the world’s leading manufacturer of solar photovoltaics, has its only U.S. manufacturing facility in Memphis, Tenn. It has created more than 200 jobs and doubled its capacity twice since production began in 2003.
Alexander said that the CLEAN Energy Act, which he supported and which passed the U.S. Senate in June, will take major steps toward diversifying our fuel supply and developing cleaner ways to power our cars and trucks.