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"Black Friday" Finds New Yorkers Looking for "Green" Economic Spark

November 28, 2008

New York, NY — It's "Black Friday," and many are watching to see if bargain hunters help provide a jump-start for the beleaguered U.S. economy by putting retailers' profits in the black again.

In New York, however, environmental watchdogs aren't waiting. They're part of a coalition of almost 30 national organizations that have provided President-elect Obama with what they call a "roadmap" of policy recommendations that will create new, "green" jobs.

Laura Haight, senior environmental associate with the New York Public Interest Research Group, says it's an opportunity to bring tens of thousands of jobs to hard-hit parts of the state —- the kinds of jobs that won't be leaving New York, once they get here.

"You can't have somebody, from another country or another continent, thermally insulate your windows. So, these are things that will help regular people save energy costs, reduce energy use, and also create new, green jobs."

Obama has said he plans to invest in clean technology as soon as he gets into office; his critics say the economic slump will prevent the nation from fixing the economy and the environment at the same time.

Frances Beinecke, executive director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, believes Obama is smart to be setting the course, however. She says converting the country to clean energy use has benefits for the environment and national security, as well as the economy.

"By investing in efficiency and clean renewable energy sources now, we can cut our addiction to oil, reduce global warming pollution and restart our economic engine."

The "roadmap" is a list of the organizations' top policy suggestions for federal actions on economic stimulus, energy, and climate change. Groups that signed it include Earthjustice, the League of Conservation Voters, the National Parks Conservation Association, the , The Wilderness Society, and The Sierra Club.

Michael Clifford/Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY