April 17, 2009

EARTH DAY 2009

As we commemorate the 29 th annual Earth Day, we must recognize that that this is a critical time in our nation's history.   We face an economic crisis, an energy security crisis, and a global climate crisis.   The solutions to each one of these problems are intertwined with solutions to the others. Hard work and American innovation will help us rebuild our economy by creating a new and robust "green" sector of our economy. It's time for the "Green Generation" to take root.

 

In Maryland and across the country, green and "cleantech" renewable energy industries are creating thousands of new, high-paying jobs.   We are putting people back to work, creating "green collar" jobs that are inherently domestic, and helping to free ourselves from our dependency on foreign energy sources, many of whom are not friendly to our values and put us at unacceptable risks from real or threatened disruptions in the fuel supply chain.

 

Here in Maryland, a number of companies have already begun to create these green collar jobs. Sun Edison, a leading solar energy provider based in Beltsville is using photovoltaic panels to capture the natural energy of the sun. They have developed a successful business model harnessing solar energy and selling electricity at increasingly competitive rates.   The company has built solar energy power plants across the United States and provides energy to large commercial and municipal customers, including Whole Foods, Staples, and ACE Hardware - all while leaving a carbon-neutral footprint.   As companies like Sun Edison continue to grow, the renewable energy industry has the potential to create and sustain hundreds of thousands of safe, high-paying, high-tech jobs in our economy.

 

While renewable energy industries - such as solar, wind, and biofuels - lack the infrastructure and institutional support of the oil, coal, and natural gas industries, they are increasingly attracting capital and proving their viability and competitiveness with conventional fossil fuel-based sources of energy.

 

Green energy companies are showing us the future of clean, carbon-neutral energy.    It is a future that means a cleaner, safer, more energy independent America.   If we are serious about achieving national energy independence and addressing the causes of climate change, then these innovative companies and their leaders are showing us the way forward.

 

On this Earth Day, I look to the future optimistically as we work together to address our global climate crisis and other sources of pollution by integrating the solutions for our environmental ills with the answers to our economic and security problems.  By developing a new green sector of our economy, and fostering the new "Green Generation," I am confident that we can cut greenhouse gas emissions, end our dependence on foreign oil, AND meet our nation's energy needs at the same time, while creating quality American jobs and investing in our economic future.

 

-- Benjamin L. Cardin, United States Senator

    Chairman of the Water and Wildlife Subcommittee

    of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee

 

 

Earth Day 2009, April 22, will mark the beginning of The Green Generation Campaign TM which is a two-year initiative that will launch in 2009. Similar to "The Greatest Generation" that confronted the challenge of World War II, who inspired the major societal changes that followed, the Green Generation includes ordinary people who are engaged in activities to improve their health, to improve their schools, to participate in building a solution to urgent national and global issues, such as climate change or the world's water crises.