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In the middle of last month, U.S. Sen. (and New Green Deal co-sponsor) Ed Markey (D-Mass) told Voxthat his party would make sure that any overhaul of the country’s infrastructure was done with clean energy.
“If there is an infrastructure bill, we’re going to make it a green energy bill,” he said. “We’re going to be submitting amendments that ensure that bill has aggressive renewable energy resource and energy efficiency standards, and that there are higher and stronger standards for federal renewable energy procurement.”
But infrastructure goes beyond roads and bridges and into forests, farms, rivers and streams — all of which help us manage storm runoff and meet our needs for clean drinking water. U.S. cities such as Denver and New York already funnel water fees into forests, farms and fields, because that’s where their water comes from. The cities of Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., meanwhile, are using stormwater fee assessments to encourage investment in green spaces that absorb water instead of concrete ones that repel it.
These “green infrastructure” projects don’t just keep greenhouse-gas emissions down; they generate environmental benefits. Some even can become carbon negative, meaning they can absorb more greenhouse gas than they emit. (For details, see “New Green Deal Aims to Boost the Restoration Economy. But What IS the Restoration Economy?”)