Tuesday, June 29, 2010

White House Calls For Energy Bill Including Climate Provisions

Jun 29: Following President Obama meeting with key Republican and Democratic Senators on the subject of comprehensive energy and climate legislation, Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change issued a call to the public via a White House email list and blog posting saying  the Gulf oil spill disaster is a "wake-up call" for a "new strategy for a clean energy future, including passing comprehensive energy and climate legislation." She said, "I joined the President at a meeting with Senators from both parties to discuss how to move forward. We also want to hear from you. . ."
    She said, "A lot of Americans are asking what this comprehensive energy reform will look like and whether we can really move towards a clean energy future. This afternoon at 4 PM EDT, Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, will host a live chat on WhiteHouse.gov to talk about this issue. . . Shifting to a clean energy economy won't be easy. For decades, we have grappled with the issue of how to end our addiction to fossil fuels. And for decades, we have lacked the political will and courage to take this important step towards securing our environment, our economy and our security.

    "To anyone who thinks this can't be done, take a look at President Obama's track record of working with Congress to deliver the change that our country needs. Here are three examples: The health care reforms of the Affordable Care Act bring the stability and security for American families that seven Presidents tried -- and failed -- to deliver; The Recovery Act is widely regarded as a critical measure that prevented another depression and saved or created more than 2 million jobs; Reform of student loans makes higher education more affordable, allowing students to get loans without relying on large banks as unnecessary middlemen. Now is the time to work with the same determination on comprehensive energy reform. . ."

    A brief statement from the White House regarding the meeting with Senators indicated, "The meeting the President hosted with a bipartisan group of Senators was a constructive exchange about the need to pass energy and climate legislation this year that lasted more than an hour-and-a-half. The President made clear his view that a full transition to clean energy will require more than just the government action we've taken so far. It will require a national effort from all of us to change the way we produce and use energy. The President told the Senators that he still believes the best way for us to transition to a clean energy economy is with a bill that makes clean energy the profitable kind of energy for America's businesses by putting a price on pollution -- because when companies pollute, they should be responsible for the costs to the environment and their contribution to climate change. Not all of the Senators agreed with this approach, and the President welcomed other approaches and ideas that would take real steps to reduce our dependence on oil, create jobs, strengthen our national security and reduce the pollution in our atmosphere. The President said that there was a strong foundation and consensus on some key policies and the President urged the Senators to come together based on that foundation. There was agreement on the sense of urgency required to move forward with legislation and the President is confident that we will be able to get something done this year."

    Fred Krupp, President of Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) issued a statement on the White House meeting and said, "Today's White House meeting begins the final push toward passage of strong clean energy and climate legislation. Passing a bill that finally deals with our oil addiction will require strong presidential leadership – and that's just what we saw today. Every president since Richard Nixon has called for energy independence; now it looks like we have one who is willing to roll up his sleeves to get it done. The President's call today for clean energy legislation with limits on carbon pollution was a clear sign that he wants a strong bill.

    "Transitioning America to clean energy won't be easy -- Big Oil and their allies have a lot of money and a lot of power -- but we believe the situation is now urgent enough that Washington has no choice but to act. With millions of gallons of crude spilled in the Gulf, and a billion dollars a day going overseas for imported oil, the moment for real action has arrived. We believe that with continued active involvement by the President himself, and Senators from both parties engaged in serious talks about what's best for the country, we can pass a strong clean energy and climate bill in the weeks ahead."

    Access the blog posting from Browner (click here). Access the White House statement on the meeting (click here). Access the statement from EDF (click here). Access the White House live chat on energy and climate legislation today at 4 PM EDT (click here).

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