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Clean Energy is an Easy Choice

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

By Sen. Jeff Merkley
The Huffington Post

The past few months the political debate inside and outside the beltway has largely been centered on health care reform, but I wanted to take a moment and turn the discussion to the big battle looming on the horizon.

Congress is gearing up to take on another critical challenge we're facing: transforming our energy economy and addressing the grave threat of climate change. As a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, I've been working with my Senate colleagues to craft a bill that will create clean energy jobs, reduce air pollution and liberate our country from depending on dirty coal and foreign oil.

The House passed an energy bill earlier this year and we in the Senate are building on those efforts. The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, introduced by Senators Kerry and Boxer, will significantly invest in renewable energy technologies such as wind, solar, and biomass as well as invest in public transportation and energy efficiency. These investments are critical if we want to strengthen America's energy independence, reduce harmful air pollution and create clean energy jobs in local communities.

Specifically, the Kerry-Boxer bill will stimulate even more investment in clean energy by creating a pollution reduction and investment program that would go beyond what the House proposed, to cut pollution 20% by 2020. And the bill will go even further to strengthen national security and reduce oil dependence with a requirement that cities and states plan for cleaner and more efficient transportation infrastructure, like public transit systems. We also create an incentive program for forest and agriculture land-owners to undertake projects that reduce emissions beyond that achieved by the pollution reduction program and offsets under the bill....(Remainder.)

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