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Morning Cup: Mother Stimulus Helps Mother Nature

benderbending/Flickr; Krista Kjellman/ProPublicaThis is the latest roundup from our stimulus blog.

With today's Earth Day celebrations, the Obama administration has planned a series of events to show how the stimulus will help Mother Nature. The president will be in Newton, Iowa to meet with workers at a former Maytag appliance factory that now produces towers for wind energy. Vice President Joe Biden will be at the train station in New Carrollton, Md. And Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will announce $750 million in projects at national parks from Ellis Island to Death Valley.

Highway and transit projects paid for by the stimulus put more than 1,250 people back to work as of March 31, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee reported. According to data it received from states, work had begun on 263 projects in 30 states.

While news has swirled around governors rejecting stimulus money, some counties are now saying no. The Associated Press reports that county commissioners outside Cincinnati turned down $373,000 for three new transit buses and officials in a town near Acadia National Park in Maine refused a request from its police chief to seek money for a new officer.

Some highlights from yesterday's stimulus hearing in Brooklyn: The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), said he was dismayed that the stimulus provided no funding for state auditors and that he was drafting a bill to do just that. New York City, meanwhile, has hired the accounting firm KPMG for help. Deputy Mayor Edward Skyler complained that the city still doesn't have federal guidelines for more than half the stimulus programs.

Project of the day: $5 million to repair a leaky roof at Philadelphia's Independence Hall, where the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence.

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