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Dabakis: Utah Not Ready To Lead In Green Energy

Evan Hall
On Friday, President Barack Obama called for 750,000 new green energy sector jobs.

In speaking to invited guests, the media, and military personnel at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden on Friday, President Barack Obama praised America’s green energy sector. The president called for the country to build on the progress being made to create jobs in green industries.

“What I’m doing here today is to highlight the fact that the solar industry is actually adding jobs 10 times faster than the rest of the economy,” Obama said. “They’re good-paying jobs, they’re helping folks enter into the middle class. Today, what we’re going to do is to build on the progress that’s already been made.”

Despite fairing relatively well through the 2008 economic recession, Utah is not one of the leading places for green job creation. Currently, California, Massachusetts, and Oregon are topping the nation in renewable energy sector growth. According to Democratic state Sen. Jim Dabakis, one of the biggest barriers to green job growth is that Utah’s leaders are preoccupied with granting subsidies for fossil fuels.

“Our congressional delegation and to a certain extent the legislature and the governor, they’re minds are stuck in coal and in fossil fuels,” he said. “We ought to put that aside, stop all the subsidies trying to get fossil fuel investments in Utah, and begin to attract other forms of energy. I’m glad the president came. I hope that the legislature, the governor, and our fossil-fueled congressional delegation will be listening.”

In January, Google announced a partnership with Swedish power company Scatec Solar to build the Utah Red Hills Renewable Energy Park. The $188 million facility is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2015.