Thursday, July 23, 2009

Local Views On Climate Change & Clean Energy Jobs

Jul 21: As part of the continuing series of climate legislation hearings, the Senate Environment and Pubic Works (EPW) Committee, Chaired by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) held a hearing entitled, Clean Energy Jobs, Climate-Related Policies and Economic Growth -- State and Local Views. Witnesses testifying at the hearing included: Governors from Colorado; Washington; North Dakota; and New Jersey and Mayors from Burlington, Vermont; Alexandria, Virginia; and Trenton, New Jersey; an Arkansas State House Representative.

In an opening statement Chairman Boxer said, "We are facing two historic challenges today -- the current recession, and the dangers of unchecked global warming. And we have the opportunity to address both with a single solution that will create millions of clean energy jobs in America, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and protect our children and grandchildren from pollution.

"I agree with President Obama, who said: 'We can remain one of the world's leading importers of foreign oil, or we can make the investments that would allow us to become the world's leading exporter of renewable energy. We can let climate change continue to go unchecked, or we can help stop it. We can let the jobs of tomorrow be created abroad, or we can create those jobs right here in America and lay the foundation for lasting prosperity.' Legislation that provides incentives for clean energy will create jobs, increase our energy efficiency, save families and businesses money in energy costs and drive technological innovation."

EPW Ranking Member James Inhofe (R-OK), with a completely opposite view said, "As I’ve stated before, cap-and-trade benefits the coasts at the expense of the heartland. Cap-and-trade divides rather than unites America behind a sensible, workable energy policy." Senator Inhofe cited the testimony of Arkansas State Representative John Lowery, a Democrat, who said, "When it comes to Waxman-Markey, unfortunately this bill will devastate my region. It will kill jobs, harm our school system, throw back our economic progress gained the last few years, and imposes a disproportionate burden on Arkansans."

Inhofe continued saying, "Rep. Lowery also speaks eloquently about a 'way of life' that would perish under cap-and-trade. He is referring to life in Arkansas and rural America. Cap-trade supporters see rural America as wasteful and environmentally backward. They see those in rural America as mere contingencies in the battle to save the planet. But these are real people with real jobs and real families. And for them, cap-and-trade will spell economic disaster. The debate over cap-and-trade does is not partisan; it’s regional. And I can tell you, when it comes to energy policy, Democrats in the Midwest and the South think differently than Speaker Pelosi and Henry Waxman."

Access the hearing website for links to testimony, Senator Boxer's statement and a webcast (
click here). Access the complete statement from Senator Inhofe (click here).

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