Senate Climate Bill Jumpstarts Prospects for Action This Year

“When oil flows into our Gulf waters as fast as our gasoline money flows to the Persian Gulf, it’s past time for a new energy plan for America.”

05-12-2010 // Tony Iallonardo
climate signs

Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) today unveiled their highly anticipated climate and clean energy legislation. The American Power Act comes against the backdrop of a tragic oil spill that threatens the entire Gulf Coast and has broader implications for U.S. energy policy that remain unknown.

What is known is the bill would reduce dependence on oil while stimulating job growth in clean energy. Most importantly for conservationists, it would cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

NWF President and CEO Larry Schweiger attended the unveiling at the U.S. Capitol and called for climate action this year. 

“The price of Congressional paralysis and America’s addiction to oil is no longer hidden," said Schweiger. "When oil flows into our Gulf waters as fast as our gasoline money flows to the Persian Gulf, it’s past time for a new energy plan for America. I have spent much of the past two weeks in the Gulf tracking the unrelenting damage of BP’s oil spill. The devastating impacts to fishermen and coastal communities have only just begun. The vast damage to marine life has been beyond the reach of the media’s camera lenses."

Global warming is the single biggest threat to our wildlife. In fact, scientists tell us that in the lifetime of a child born today, rising global temperatures could move up to 30 percent of all plant and animal species toward extinction. National Wildlife Federation has urged Congress to rapidly enact strong climate and energy legislation.

A coalition of environment and conservation groups that included National Wildlife Federation representing millions of Americans reacted positively to the legislation. “Today's action by Senators John Kerry (Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (Conn.) jumpstarts the Senate debate over America's energy future. Their unwavering leadership has been critical to the progress made thus far.”

Recently. Majority Leader Harry Reid said the oil spill may help spur the bill toward passage. A new poll shows Senators Kerry and Lieberman have a strong majority with them. Sixty-one percent of 2010 voters said they support a bill that will limit pollution, invest in domestic energy sources and encourage companies to use and develop clean energy. The poll was conducted for Clean Energy Works—a coalition of environmental, labor, national security and other groups.