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Four Colorado projects that convert wood waste, or biomass, into energy received a total of $1 million in federal stimulus funds Thursday, but a state with more than two million acres of dead and dying lodgepole pine forests could use a lot more.
That was fast.
Faced with complaints that states didn't have the resources to properly track federal stimulus dollars, the feds have released more funds for states to hire accountants and auditors and set up offices and websites.
As an Obama-era Gordon Gekko might put it to shocking effect: "Government spending is good."
The enormous "government handout" that is the stimulus package is encouraging growth of emerging industries and doing so partly by bringing major private-sector investors on board. The development puts the lie to the simple dichotomy drawn in the last few decades between the market and the government and to pretend incompatibility of the two. Unabashed taxing and spending is looking pretty good for business -- and not just the businesses in need of bailout. The stimulus is stimulating major U.S. companies to actually make things and build industries that will pay dividends well into the future.
State officials in charge of spending federal stimulus money are scrambling to spend it and to spend it right. The Obama Administration has told the states to either spend the funding fast -- in order to get the economy pumping again -- or they're going to take it back.
In a story on Obama's first 100 days, Market Watch quotes Colorado pollster Floyd Ciruli, who says Obama's high marks are "mostly for effort so far."
"There's no sense in Colorado that there's economic payoff."
But a quick scan of the Web today suggest it's only a matter of time before Colorado begins to feel the effects of the attention the Obama Administration has been lavishing on the state.
Winds of change may be blowing through Golden today — underscoring just how critical Colorado has become on the national clean-energy front — but the real test of the Obama administration’s legacy is unfolding in Washington.