IHS Chemical Week


The Stimulus Package: A Crucial Test for Industry

4:08 PM MST | February 13, 2009 | By KARA SISSELL

As Congress nears passage of the $787 billion economic stimulus package, lawmakers, economists, and companies are asking exactly how much of the spending will result in real, near-term job creation. And, with the government handing out billions of dollars for infrastructure and other projects, the next months will determine how those funds are spent and who, ultimately, benefits. ACC says spending on clean energy and infrastructure can help generate jobs in the chemical and related industries, and the Association of American Railroads (AAR; Washington) says the bill will spur improvements in freight and passenger rail. The National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA; Washington), an association of state and local regulators, also likes the bill. However, the state regulators are urging the White House to require a “green screen” be used to filter out infrastructure projects that would impede protection of human health and the environment. “Once the bill is signed into law, NACAA will look to the President and Congress to put into place administrative requirements and oversight processes that will lead to the disbursement of stimulus funds in a manner that is consistent with both economic and environmental priorities,” the group says. This call is unlikely to go unnoticed by the White House. So, as the struggle over how money is spent begins in earnest, so does the test of industry’s ability to provide critical and innovative solutions.

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