By Edward Cardenas

DETROIT (CBS Detroit)  – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy came to Detroit Thursday to tour the nonprofit NextEnergy campus and view the latest in advancements in energy saving technologies.

NextEnergy CEO Jean Redfield and her staff met with McCarthy, and led her on a tour of the facility which included the labs for Nextek Power Systems, which has converted lighting systems at some of Bedrock’s buildings, and the NextHome smart home.

While these technologies are cutting edge, they also can provide jobs in a new green economy.

“In the United States, we don’t grow the environment at the detriment of the economy,” said McCarthy. “We are part of the foundation of the growing economy. A low carbon future offers us tremendous amounts of opportunities for new jobs.”

McCarthy’s visit to 13-year-old  NextEnergy – which has helped attract more than $1.4 billion of energy investment – came on the same day Pope Francis released his encyclical on the environment which calls for urgent action to protect the Earth and fight global warming.

She stated that Francis’ taking the stance was not a surprise, and is similar to the president’s position.

“I am excited that the pope is acknowledging the science behind climate and recognizing it as a moral responsibility that is a position that president shares. We have to turn the challenge of climate into an opportunity for everybody,” she said.

Detroit is an appropriate place for this innovation in green technologies to occur as it is home to the domestic auto industry, which McCarthy said is the “driver” of new technologies which can be developed for the automobile and moved into other sectors.

“We have been working in conjunction with Region 5 for years around the global issues around sustainability and climate change, and so to know that the EPA is that interested in energy technologies can contribute to the overall climate action plan is really exciting,” said Jean Redfield.

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