November 03, 2009

Opening Statement Of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand From Today's Environment And Public Works Committee Business Meeting On The Clean Energy Jobs And American Power Act

Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand released the following opening statement from today's Environment and Public Works Committee business meeting on the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act:

"Thank you Chairwoman Boxer for your continued leadership on this most critical of issues. The legislation we are considering before us today, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, is about taking back America's energy future - putting our nation on a path to achieving energy independence.

"Madam Chairwoman, every day our country sends roughly $1 billion overseas to many nations that don't necessarily have our interests at heart. Our reliance on foreign fossil fuels hurts our economy, helps our enemies, and makes us less secure at home and abroad. As has been noted by many of my colleagues in previous hearings, the Center for Naval Analyses, in their report; National Security and the Threat of Climate Change describes climate change as a ‘threat multiplier in some of the most volatile regions of the world.'

"When we talk about preventing the spread of violent extremism, it is vital that the threats from global climate change be central to those discussions. That is why moving forward with this legislation at this time is so important. As a Member who serves with the Chairwoman and Senator Cardin on the Foreign Relations Committee, I look forward to continuing our work to address our national security challenges as part of this climate debate.

"On the home front, we need an energy policy that harnesses America's innovative and entrepreneurial spirit. A policy that will put New Yorkers to work building the next generation of hydrogen fuel cell technology in Rochester, innovating wind turbines in Schenectady, developing diesel emission reduction technologies in Corning, being at the forefront of photovoltaic research at Brookhaven National Laboratory, and demonstrating the latest in green building techniques in The Bronx. I believe the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act sets us on a course to long-term economic growth and job creation.

"Last week, we heard from a number of expert witnesses, about the need to move this legislation forward in a timely manner.

"Madam Chairwoman, you were kind enough to allow one of my constituents from New York, Mr. Kevin Law, President and CEO of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), to serve as a witness during those hearings. Mr. Law spoke about how the work that LIPA is doing under an aggressive state renewable energy program and regional emissions reduction regime. He described how LIPA is working to develop the nation's largest offshore wind project off Long Island, implementing a billion dollar efficiency program for his ratepayers, and other initiatives to save his customers money on their energy bills, while reducing emissions and spurring economic development. His story is an example of the kind of ingenuity and embracing of a clean energy future that will be replicated all across the country under this legislation.

"Madam Chairwoman, we have spent many months in this chamber discussing the need to act, and act quickly to address global climate change, so let me simply conclude by saying that the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act is legislation that will lead to long-term economic prosperity, energy security, and the protection of our environment for generations to come. Thank you."