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Key Moderates Urge Senate Action on Clean Energy and Climate Bill

Bob Deans

Posted March 22, 2010 in Solving Global Warming

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Clean energy and climate legislation should get a boost from a letter 22 senators have sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., urging swift action on the legislation this year.

The senators, including many key swing moderates who have been silent on the issue until now, told Reid that a bipartisan national energy and climate policy could create jobs and reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil, Darren Samuelsohn reported Monday in Environment and Energy Daily.

The list of senators who signed a letter urging Reid to advance such a bill “includes several moderates whose support will be pivotal,” Samuelsohn writes.

The senators told Reid that a bipartisan clean energy policy would help American workers succeed in the global marketplace while giving businesses the certainty and predictability needed to spur investment, the senators wrote. The letter was sent late Friday.

“Our lack of a comprehensive clean energy policy hurts job creation and increases regulatory uncertainty throughout the country,” the senators wrote in the letter. “Businesses are waiting on clean signals from Congress before investing billions in energy, transportation, manufacturing, buildings and other sectors.”

The letter, organized by Tom Udall, D-NM., echoes the sentiments of a January letter a different group of senators sent to President Obama, saying clean energy and climate legislation "will be a major job creator."

Some senators signed both letters, but not all names overlap.

These senators are on record as being ready to roll up their sleeves and work to pass legislation that will set this country on the course to the clean energy future we need to strengthen our economy and make our country more secure.

And that doesn't include a number of senators already leading the work on those goals, including John Kerry, D-Ma., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Joe Lieberman, I-Ct., who are spearheading efforts to craft a bipartisan bill in the Senate.

As they frame up the broad contours of legislation, those three senators have been in earnest discussions with a variety of groups, including environmental organizations like the NRDC.

The legislation is very much a work in progress - and we're glad to see the progress. We're especially heartened by the goals these senators have already agreed upon, starting with cutting U.S. carbon pollution by 17 percent below a 2005 baseline by 2020, with 80-percent reductions by 2050.

The details are important, and there are many specifics yet to be worked out. We and our partners in the environmental, business, labor, faith and national security communities are continuing to work with Senators to make sure we get the best bill possible, one we know can put Americans back to work, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create a healthier future for our country.

Meanwhile, momentum is clearly building for this vital legislation. The senators' latest letter to Majority Leader Reid puts a gust of fresh wind in the sails.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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