Sarbanes Committee Release Climate Change Legislation
After years of debate and study about the scope of the problem, root causes, impacts and potential solutions, the Congress is taking historic action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent dangerous and irreversible global warming. This week the House Energy and Commerce Committee, on which I am privileged to serve, passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (H.R. 2454). This is a critical first step in putting a new energy framework in place –one that is good for the environment, reduces our dependency on fossil fuels and creates a whole host of new energy jobs. The legislation now moves to consideration by other relevant committees and onto the House floor.
What’s most exciting about this bill is the potential for it to transform America in so many ways. By developing a long term and sustainable energy strategy, we can address economic, national security, and environmental policy priorities in one fell swoop. We can diversify our energy portfolio and end our dependence on energy sources from volatile parts of the world. By revolutionizing our energy industry and becoming an exporter of clean energy technologies, we will be able to maintain our competitive advantage as a nation and ensure a prosperous future for our children. Just as growth in information technology served as the driving force behind the economic boom of the 1990’s, the development of clean energy technology and green jobs will spur tremendous growth and offer long-term relief to the American economy.
Although this is a major step, there is still much to be done. Even after the bill moves through the full process of the House of Representatives it must then be reconciled with Senate legislation. I am mindful of the fact that many of you believe the bill is not strong enough; others believe it to be too aggressive. The legislation is not perfect and I will weigh your views carefully as we proceed, always looking to improve the final product. We have an amazing opportunity to hand our children a better future and we cannot let that opportunity slip through our fingers. The data supporting the existence of climate change is real and compelling. We must act now and demonstrate the leadership and discipline to pursue solutions that are based on science and will adequately protect prosperity and health for generations to come.
Some of the major features of the American Clean Energy and Security Act are to:
- Invest in clean energy technologies and create green jobs
- Cap and reduce greenhouse gases to levels that will prevent global warming
- Require utility companies to generate energy from renewable sources
- Develop capabilities to capture and store carbon emissions
- Provide support for development of electric vehicles
- Support state energy efficiency measures
- Advance smart grid technologies so electricity is delivered efficiently
- Provide consumer rebates for the purchase of energy efficient products
I will continue to keep you updated on this issue and more generally on our work in the Congress. If you have not already done so and would like to receive more regular updates from my office, please sign up for the Sarbanes Standard at http://sarbanes.house.gov/.
Congressman John P. Sarbanes
Maryland's Third Congressional Distric