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Earth Day Celebration

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 - 5:19pm

More than a billion people are expected to celebrate Earth Day today.

Since its creation by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson 39 years ago, Earth Day activities have spread around the world to more than 170 countries.

This afternoon President Obama toured what used to be a Maytag plant in Newton, Iowa.

It was the town’s biggest employer before it closed two years ago.

Newton brought in a company that builds parts for wind turbines, in exchange for business incentives and tax breaks.

"At Trinity, you are helping to lead the next energy revolution. And you are heirs to the last energy revolution,” the President said. "It is estimated that if we fully pursue our potential for wind energy on land and offshore, wind can generate as much as 20 percent of our electricity by 2030, creating as many as 250,000 jobs in the process."

While Obama delivered his earth day message, back in Washington, hearings on democratic climate bill continued with republicans claiming the legislation would cause energy prices to soar.

The house democratic energy bill calls for a reduction of greenhouse gases by 20% from 2005 levels by 2020.

"It is interesting that so many people are determined to raise energy prices in this country," said republican Congressman Joe Barton of Texas.

There were tree planting ceremonies across the country.

In Minneapolis, Senate candidate Al Franken addressed the need to preserve clean water.

"It's perhaps the most basic human necessity. And it's something a lot of us take for granted," said Franken.

Disneynature's first film, "Earth," premiers today in theaters nationwide.

Disney promised to plant a tree for every ticket purchased between today and Sunday.

It’s clearly a day to celebrate the good in green.