406 Dirksen EPW Hearing Room
(Remarks as prepared for delivery)
This is the first legislative hearing on S. 1733, The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act. Over the next three days, we will hear from 54 witnesses, on nine separate panels.
Today, I want to welcome my partner in writing this bill, Senator John Kerry, and our distinguished Obama Administration witnesses. I greatly appreciate the President’s leadership on this issue.
As promised, the Chairman’s Mark was made public Friday, and we have released and posted EPA’s economic analysis of the bill. Committee rules provide that this document be circulated three days before the markup. We have done this at least 10 days before the markup.
The Kerry Boxer bill was based on the successful legislation in the House, the Waxman-Markey bill.
Our bill is straightforward. After outlining the findings, goals and targets, Division A lays out a series of authorizations, and Division B sets up the Pollution Reduction and Investment program.
EPA’s economic modeling found that the Kerry Boxer bill will carry only modest costs for America’s families – the overall impact being 22 to 30 cents a day.
Let’s talk about that.
What will America’s families get for 30 cents a day?
For 30 cents a day, we will put America in control of our own energy future and take a stand for home-grown American energy rather than foreign oil from countries who don’t like us.
For 30 cents a day, we will protect our children from dangerous pollution.
For 30 cents a day we will send a signal that sparks billions of dollars of private investment and job creation.
For 30 cents a day we will be the world’s leader in clean energy technology.
No climate bill has ever had this level of review and the Obama Administration stands behind this analysis. EPA spent five weeks analyzing the Waxman Markey bill and another two weeks analyzing our version.
Scientists in the Obama and Bush Administrations, and at the National Academy of Sciences and at the U.N. IPCC tell us that we have a narrow window of time in which to avert the ravages of global warming.
They tell us about frequent and intense storms, wildfires in the West, heat waves across the nation, increased droughts and flooding, threats to agriculture, global conflict, refugees and food shortages.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina took an estimated 1,700 lives, displaced 1 million people, and cost well over $100 billion. Four years later, there is still suffering, and it will take billions more to protect the coast in that region.
Katrina provides a window into the kind of world we can expect if we fail to act.
S.1733 is our best insurance against a dangerous future. It is a responsible approach that sets attainable goals for gradual reductions in carbon emissions, and it protects consumers, businesses and workers as we move toward clean energy.
Let me give the warmest of thank you’s to John Kerry and his staff as well to all Majority members of the Committee and their dedicated staff. Their hard work is reflected in the Chairman’s Mark.
I also want to thank Senator Carper for agreeing to take the helm of the coal working group, and for working with Senators on and off the Committee to produce a positive outcome.
I am disappointed that since John Warner retired, I don’t have a Republican partner on the Committee, but I am appreciative for the productive conversations I have had with Senator Alexander about nuclear energy, and for the wide-ranging conversations and meetings I have had with Senator Voinovich and his staff.
We have been helped by environmental organizations, businesses and workers, religious leaders, wildlife protectors and national security experts. I thank all of them.
Here’s where we are. Since the Supreme Court ruled that greenhouse gas pollution is covered under the Clean Air Act, the EPA must move forward to meet its responsibilities under the law.
Our bill is the best way to proceed. It provides flexibility to businesses and powerful incentives to drive innovation. It helps consumers, workers, agriculture, transportation, energy efficiency, wildlife, cities, counties, and it will launch an economic transformation.
Over the past four decades, this Committee has been at the center of our nation’s landmark environmental laws. They were written right in this room. Those who sat in these chairs before us never ran from the challenges facing them.
Global warming is our challenge now, and I am very, very pleased that today is an important milestone on our road to action.
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- 10.27.2009 Tom Vilsack Statement for the Record - (71.4 KBs)