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OH Experts say Weatherization Spurs Jobs and Warms Families

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 By Mary KuhlmanContact
February 5, 2009

Columbus, OH - Some may call it pork spending, but energy experts say President Obama’s $6-billion request for weatherization in the stimulus bill will create thousands of green jobs in Ohio and help keep low-income Ohioans warm. The funds would be used to weatherize 1 million homes as part of a stimulus plan. The House this week passed much of Obama’s package, while the Senate is still at work.

The manager of the weatherization program at Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy, Pete Natal, says the program would help low-income families not have to make the choice between heating and eating.

"This is a fabulous opportunity. It will help control energy costs because it helps make bills more affordable. There’s a lot of need out there and it's growing."

Natal says the money would jump start the effort to produce hundreds of thousands of green jobs.

"We could employ 3,500 to weatherize the number of houses the President wants to see done. These are good jobs – entry level, semi-skilled and skilled auditor and inspector positions – jobs you can raise a family on."

Natal says, while this initiative is targeting the poor, it is also good for all Ohioans.

"It will create desperately needed jobs. It will produce the technicians who, in conjunction with efficiency programs being implemented by electric and gas utilities, will provide weatherization services to the average homeowner."

Some Republicans like House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio have called the weatherization program wasteful spending, but supporters say the spending would spur low-income communities toward job growth and economic development.

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