U.S. Senate Committee on
Environment and Public Works

Boxer Statement on Warner-Lieberman
Global Warming Announcement

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.),
Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
Remarks as prepared for delivery:

When I took the gavel of the Senate Environment Committee in January, I laid out two primary goals:

1.      To fight global warming; and

2.      To restore bipartisanship to the EPW committee.

Today’s announcement by Senators Warner and Lieberman makes this a landmark day in our fight against global warming and in bringing bipartisanship to the committee. 

Senators Lieberman and Warner have announced their plan to develop an economy-wide global warming bill that includes a cap-and-trade program. This is a critical milestone, because Senator Warner becomes the first Republican on the EPW committee to support an economy-wide approach to global warming.

I also want to thank Senator Alexander, who has addressed the power plant sector’s contribution to global warming both in his legislation, and in the  Capitol Power Plant Bill that passed as part of the Energy Bill last week. 

I look forward to working closely with Senators Warner and Lieberman in considering their legislation, along with the other global warming bills that have been referred to our Committee.

I want to commend the leadership of Senator Warner, who understands deeply the Senate as an institution, and who is widely respected by his colleagues. He has played an active role as ranking member of the global warming subcommittee.

Senator Lieberman was a leader on global warming before most of the world recognized its importance–and his teaming up with Senator Warner makes a powerful combination.

This Committee has a history of working in a bipartisan fashion to pass important legislation that tackled the monumental challenges of the day

After the Cuyahoga River caught fire in Ohio in 1969, and many of our lakes and rivers were open sewers, our Committee responded by enacting the Clean Water Act in 1972. 

When the air was so dirty you could see it and there were few tools to address it, our Committee responded with the Clean Air Act in 1970. 

When contaminated tap water was causing waterborne disease and exposing people to cancer-causing chemicals, our Committee enacted the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1974.

These were bipartisan bills.

Now we must face the challenge of global warming, a great challenge of this generation. 

Today’s announcement comes after we have held extensive hearings on this issue – to help bring our Committee members together.

We have been privileged to have been briefed several times by some of the world’s leading scientists on global warming.

We heard very persuasive pleas for swift enactment of global warming legislation from some of the country’s foremost business leaders with the US Climate Action Partnership, including major electric utilities, chemical companies, and other major industrialists. We heard from leaders in the outdoor recreation industry, and from State and local government leaders representing dozens of states, including my home state of California , and nearly 600 cities that are fighting to cut global warming pollution.

Religious leaders from congregations serving more than 100 million Americans urged us to take swift action on global warming to save the planet and protect the poorest among us who are most vulnerable to its disastrous effects.

Former Vice President Al Gore testified about the urgency of taking action.

We have learned from experts about green buildings that use more efficient lighting and other technologies that can reduce electric consumption and global warming emissions by over 30 percent. 

We have passed measures to make the federal government more efficient and a model for the rest. Those measures were part of the energy bill the Senate passed last week.

On Thursday we will hold a crucial hearing on coal-fired power plants, which produce 40 percent of global warming pollution.  This marks a turning point, as we weigh the legislative proposals for addressing global warming pollution from electrical utilities.

Today’s announcement is a milestone in our effort to combat the challenge of global warming.  And it doesn’t come a moment too soon. 

This is a bright day for our country and for the world – we must step up to the challenge and today, Senators Warner and Lieberman have signaled their joint leadership in the fight.

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