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Obama: "I'm going to keep fighting to pass comprehensive energy and climate legislation"

Pete Altman

Posted May 26, 2010 in Solving Global Warming

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NRDC, Robert Redford and others have been urging the President and White House to take a lead role in working with the US Senate to develop a comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation that he can sign this year. Happily, over the last few days, we have seen a fresh string of comments by the President and senior White House officials  that reflect a clear commitment to move comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation forward.

Earlier today the President told workers at Solyndra, a California solar manufacturing plant, that recent clean energy policies and incentives have created jobs and made the US more competitive,

"But we’ve still got more work to do, and that’s why I’m going to keep fighting to pass comprehensive energy and climate legislation in Washington. We’re going to try to get it done this year."

Last night, Greenwire/NYT reports, the President hit the message again during his comments at a fundraiser:

President Obama is pressing the Senate to pivot off the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to pass a "long-term energy strategy" modeled after legislation written by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)…."There's been some good work done by John Kerry and Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham. Let's go. Let's not wait. Let's show the American people that in the midst of this crisis, all of us are opening our eyes to what's necessary to fulfill the promise to our children and our grandchildren."

Yesterday over lunch with the Republican caucus, the President hit the theme as well. As Congress Daily reported,

Obama urged Republicans to consider legislation to cut carbon emissions, arguing the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico gave impetus for quick action, senators said.

Earlier in the day yesterday, E&E News (subscription required) quoted Energy Department senior adviser Matt Rogers saying

"We do need to make sure we end the uncertainty and pass comprehensive energy and climate legislation…The delay leads people to defer making investments in that kind of manufacturing equipment."

On Monday The Hill reported that David Axelrod was on MSNBC saying that the Gulf oil spill strengthens the case for comprehensive legislation:

"I would like to think that this will increase the sense of urgency in Congress, because it underscores the value in developing alternative sources of energy…So I hope that it will give added impetus to Congress to come up with and pass a comprehensive plan."

Last Friday, the President re-affirmed his commitment to work with the Senate to get a comprehensive energy package passed this year during remarks announcing new emissions standards for cars and trucks last Friday, saying that tougher vehicle emissions standards, while important,

"...are not a substitute for other necessary steps to ensure our leadership in a new clean energy economy.  I’m heartened by the good work that’s been done by Senator Kerry and Lieberman on a comprehensive energy and climate bill to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, to prevent the worst consequences of climate change, and foster the millions of new jobs that are possible if we rise to this challenge.  And this follows the passage of comprehensive legislation through the House last June. So as I’ve said before, I intend to work with members of both parties to pass a bill this year. 

And the President has plenty of support for taking the lead. As I’ve mentioned before, 64% of Americans think Congress should pass a clean energy and climate bill, And American Businesses for Clean Energy and We Can Lead announced last week that over 6,000 companies across the US support clean energy and climate legislation.

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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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