Earth Day: Pelosi Advocates for Clean Energy Legislation

On April 21, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, several House chairmen and agriculture, business, faith and environmental leaders spoke about clean energy legislation, stressing that green job creation and clean energy is vital to the nation’s economic health.

On March 31, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., chairman of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee, released a draft of clean energy legislation, The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. They say this legislation will create jobs, help end the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and combat global warming.

"This legislation will create clean energy jobs that can't be shipped overseas, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and make America the global leader in energy technology. We will create jobs by the millions, save money by the billions, and unleash energy investment by the trillions," stated Markey.

Markey and Waxman, together with Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and Chairman of the Agriculture Committee Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., joined Pelosi April 21 to discuss the potential impact of such legislation.

“Climate crisis is a national security issue; it is an environmental health issue; it is an economic issue; and, it is a moral issue, if you believe as we do – as many of us do here that we have an obligation to future generations to preserve the climate as a moral obligation to preserve it as God's creation,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi: Legislation Will Pass This Year

Pelosi expressed her hope for America to be the first to establish clean energy and investments in science and innovation that will produce green jobs.

“Across America, businesses like those represented here today are waiting for a signal from Washington that we are committed to a real, sustained transition to clean energy so that they can make the right investments in their businesses and their workers,” she said.

“I am here as Speaker of the House to say that the commitment is real and that we will pass legislation this year.

“This will be one of the most complex legislative efforts ever undertaken by any Congress. It will require the broad coalition of business, agriculture, technology, environmental and faith groups who have joined us today to move this legislation forward and to enact it into law,” she said.

The Act

According to Markey and Waxman, The American Clean Energy and Security Act will create millions of new clean energy jobs, save consumers hundreds of billions of dollars in energy costs, enhance America's energy independence and cut global warming pollution. To meet these goals, the legislation has four titles:

  • A clean energy title that promotes renewable sources of energy, carbon capture and sequestration technologies, low-carbon fuels, clean electric vehicles and the smart grid and electricity transmission;
  • An energy efficiency title that increases energy efficiency across all sectors of the economy, including buildings, appliances, transportation and industry;
  • A global warming title that places limits on emissions of heat-trapping pollutants; and
  • A transitioning title that protects U.S. consumers and industry and promotes green jobs during the transition to a clean energy economy.

The Energy and Commerce Committee will hold legislative hearings on the discussion draft of The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 from April 21-24 to examine the views of the administration and a broad range of stakeholders. The committee expects to complete consideration of the legislation by Memorial Day.

Facing the Challenge

Pelosi pointed out that next year is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. By that time, she said she hopes to look back and see that America faced the climate crisis challenge “with legislation that was science based, value-based as well, and that put forth ideas of the future.”

“On this Earth Day, we commit not just ourselves, but our nation, to protecting our planet and creating jobs for our workers by passing clean energy legislation,” Pelosi concluded.

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