Senate Vote Creates Hope for Green Automobile Jobs

Nissan Leaf Electric Compact Car - Image from Nissan

A bipartisan compromise the U.S. Senate recently reached to stop a potential U.S. government shutdown has positive implications for green jobs in the nation’s automobile industry.

Congress Republicans expressed the need for Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) expenditures to be offset by cuts in the $25 billion clean-technology automobile loan initiative. However, the bipartisan Senate compromise reached last week instead provides FEMA, an organization that helps communities that have been struck by natural disasters, with the money it needs without cutting federal clean energy programs.

This Senate compromise, which was approved by a 79-12 Senate vote, also offers stopgap funds to handle government operations until Nov. 18.

“This is a win for everyone,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada.

Green Jobs and Green Technology Remain Areas of Opportunity

One program that was on the pedestal prior to the Senate vote was a U.S. Energy Department program that gives business loans that help automobile companies make more fuel-efficient automobiles. One program beneficiary is Nissan North America, which got $1.4 billion to create advanced-technology batteries and the electric Nissan Leaf compact automobile in Smyrna, Tenn.

The U.S. Energy Department Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program actually has given automobile loans to about six companies, thus resulting in a whopping 40,000 green jobs in the United States.

Other benefiting companies include Vehicle Production Group, Tesla Motors, electric carmakers Fisker Automotive and Severstal Dearborn, which will use its loan to produce high-tech steel. Another $1.5 billion remains available and thus could result in 10,000 more green jobs in the United States.

Ford officials said the company also benefited from the green vehicle loan program. It received a $5.9 billion loan that helped it save 33,000 green jobs in several states such as Missouri, Illinois, Ohio and Kentucky by converting 11 engine, transmission and assembly plants.

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