Ben Cardin - Senator for Maryland

MARKUP OF S. 1733, CLEAN ENERGY JOBS AND AMERICAN POWER ACT

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Madame Chairman, thank you for your extraordinary leadership on this issue. We wouldn't be here today -- with the progress that has been made -- without your leadership and I personally want to thank you.

 

I want to respond somewhat to Senator Voinovich's points on behalf of our Republican colleagues. I find this somewhat frustrating because I think we all want to have as much information as possible. But the issues that he raises are going to have to be made by the Members of Congress. These are going to be decisions that we are going to debate. I'm disappointed because I think that if my Republican colleagues were here offering their amendments that we'd have a good debate and reach decisions. Quite frankly, I think we might end up with a better bill, so I'm somewhat puzzled by the tack that they are taking.

 

If you were to type the words "climate change legislation" into the most popular internet search engine, you will get 10.9 million links.    That's because there has been so much analysis done on climate change; so much information about it; so much science that indicates the seriousness of global climate change, culminating with a Nobel Prize for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.   The United States Government and our academic institutions have produced an extraordinary body of knowledge on the subject.   The legislation we have before us today is the result of dozens of hearings, thousands of pages of testimony and supporting documents, exhaustive analysis, and countless hours of discussion. We have plenty of information and we're ready to make decisions.

 

In Congress, the effort to draft climate legislation has resulted in years of hearings in this Committee and several others.   The bill that we have before us, in large measure, is based on the Waxman- Markey bill that passed the House of Representatives where there was significant analysis done and that bill was based upon the Lieberman-Warner bill that was marked up by this committee in the last Congress.  I need to point out that we marked up that bill, which is substantially similar to the bill that we have before us today, in the last Congress and my Republican colleagues didn't request at that time the EPA economic modeling.  I'm somewhat puzzled as to this new sense of urgency to have that modeling complete before the bill is put together by the Majority Leader when we really have the full bill and we really know all the pieces that are going to be in it, considering how many committees will have an impact on the bill before us.

             

As John Adams famously observed, "Facts are stubborn things."   Some critics of this legislative effort want to ignore all the science, ignore all the hearings, ignore all the testimony, ignore all the analyses, and ignore the robust legislative history of this bill.   But the facts are simple.

 

We live in a world that is being poisoned by greenhouse gases of our own making.   Without dramatic action, we face irreversible, catastrophic climate change.  

 

Our energy independence, our national security, and our fragile environment hang in the balance.   Some choose to ignore the facts and some choose to delay.   I choose to act.  

 

We face the most compelling energy challenge of our time, and I believe that the American people are ready to meet that challenge.  

 

Guided by strong science, we have crafted a bill that will transform our energy economy.   Instead of relying on oil imports from countries that do not share our values, we will tap our reserves of natural gas, build renewable energy sources like wind and solar, and increase our output of nuclear power.   We will invest in new technologies like Smart Grid networks that will conserve energy, create more than a million new green energy jobs, and save American consumers billions.  

 

Other nations are moving forward on this. Other nations understand that this is going to be a win for their economy and they want to take advantage of it. They are using our technology to create jobs that should be created here in America.       It's time we invest in our own country.

 

We will invest in public transportation.   If we can get just 10 percent of the American workforce to take public transportation, we would reduce our dependence on foreign oil by 40%.   This legislation gives us the tools to meet that goal.

 

In the Washington Metropolitan area, people want to use transit more. We need to modernize our transit system and we will get people off the roads. We save oil and we will save our environment.

 

We can reassert America's leadership on the world stage by building a new clean and efficient energy future.  

 

I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to further refine this legislation and to garner the votes necessary for passage.   This markup session puts us firmly on that path.  

 

The time to act is now.

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Sue Walitsky: 202-224-4524

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