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United States

US senators urge Obama administration to alter renewables stimulus package

US: The Obama administration is being urged by a group of Democratic senators to temporarily halt the country's stimulus package for renewables until it can be changed to ensure the funds do not go overseas.

New York state senator Chuck Schumer
New York state senator Chuck Schumer

Four senators wrote to treasury secretary Tim Geithner yesterday requesting a moratorium on the Recovery Act programme.

They want legislation to be passed ensuring the money only goes to projects preserving and creating US jobs.

New York senator Chuck Schumer is leading the group, which also includes Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Robert Casey of Pennsylvania and Jon Tester of Montana.

The letter to Geitner states: "A critical Recovery Act priority is investment in the domestic renewable and clean energy industry, not investment in foreign manufacturers."

In response AWEA said the proposed amendment would hamper the US wind industry and called on the government to encourage manufacturers to set up in the country.

AWEA CEO Denise Bode said: "At a time when the construction unemployment rate is nearly 25% and the manufacturing unemployment rate is 13%, this proposal would cost 50,000 American workers their jobs.
 
The truth is, by law, Recovery Act grants can only be used to finance projects that are being built in the United States."
 
This is not the first time Schumer has raised the issue of wind energy investment and the involvement of overseas companies. Coincidentally, New York state is home to GE Energy's wind turbine business.

In November, Schumer also wrote to US energy secretary Steven Chu: "The goal of the stimulus was to spur job creation here, not overseas. This project should not receive a dime of stimulus funds unless it relies on US manufactured products."

The senataor’s letter had the opposite effect of leading Chinese blade manufacturer HT Blade to re-evaluate plans to build a blade factory in Texas.

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