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First Victory on Climate Change

Date : Fri, 22 May 2009 11:40:49 -0400


For Immediate Release

May 22, 2009

Contact: Jeff Tittel, Chapter Director, 609-558-9100



First Victory on Climate Change

Sierra Club applauds historic vote on legislation that moves us one step closer to a clean energy future; key elements must be strengthened as plan moves forward


The House Energy & Commerce Committee on Thursday passed a comprehensive clean energy and climate plan, the American Clean Energy & Security Act
(Waxman-Markey). Several other committees, notably Ways & Means, may seek an opportunity to weigh in on the bill before it comes to the House floor later this summer. The Sierra Club applauds the vote but some elements must be strengthened as the legislation moves forward.


"After the Republican Congress blocked the United States from signing the Kyoto Treaty, the Bush Administration denying global warming, and Dick Cheney writing our country's energy plan with oil executives, this is a big victory for the environment and the fight against climate change," NJ Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel said.


"We believe this bill is a landmark effort to deal with greenhouse gases and climate change," Tittel said. "We want to thank Congressman Frank Pallone for his hard work on this legislation. He is an environmental champion, not only to the people of New Jersey but for all Americans."


"This legislation will protect the environment, move the country forward by growing our economy with good green energy jobs, and will help make America more energy independent," Tittel said.


Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director, said: "Moving a comprehensive clean energy jobs plan through a committee historically dominated by those with ties to the oil, coal, and other polluting industries is a laudable victory and truly historic accomplishment. Chairmen Waxman and Markey have led the way and it is certain that this feat never could have happened without their extraordinary leadership. They have long been champions for the environmental movement and we congratulate them on achieving this critically important milestone."


This bill puts the U.S. on the path to slash the carbon emissions that cause global warming 80 percent by 2050, a signal accomplishment necessary to preserve the planet for future generations.


"While the plan approved by the committee establishes a sound framework for achieving its vital goals, Big Oil, Big Coal, and dirty power companies like Southern Company extracted a steep price at the expense of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and other provisions critical to protecting both the planet and the public interest," Pope said. "As this piece of legislation moves forward we will work with our allies to mount a vigorous effort to strengthen this bill in a few fundamental areas:


Drive a shift to in U.S. energy production toward cleaner, cheaper sources like wind and solar much more quickly than business as usual in order to ensure strong growth in the clean energy industries and clean energy jobs that are key to solving both our environmental and economic crises


Prioritize significant investments in slashing energy waste in order to quickly, cheaply, and effectively cut emissions, rather than focusing on other unproven and expensive technologies


Retain Environmental Protection Agency authority as an essential backstop for ensuring that science-driven emissions reductions are achieved in time to prevent the worst effects of global warming


Make polluters pay for their carbon pollution in order to fund investments in clean energy; protect consumers wildlife and vulnerable communities; and promote clean energy jobs rather than rewarding Big Oil, Big Coal, and other polluters for bad business decisions and past pollution with billions in giveaways and bailouts


Overall, the Sierra Club is pleased with the legislation. While capping emissions at 17 percent by 2020 goes a long way, those goals should be strengthened. Loopholes that protect Mid-western coal power plants, refineries and other industries need to be reviewed.



Kara Seymour, Program Assistant

NJ Sierra Club

145 W. Hanover Street

Trenton, NJ 08618


(f) 609.656.7618


Received on 2009-05-22 08:40:49

New Jersey Sierra Club, 145 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618, USA
tel: 609 656 7612, fax 609 656 7618
or email Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator, at

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