Washington, D.C. – Today, Oregon’s Senator Jeff
Merkley joined Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair John Kerry (D-MA) and
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA) to
introduce the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act. The bill will
strengthen America’s position as a leader in the creation of clean energy jobs
and promote energy independence.
“The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act will put our
country on the right path to ending our dependence on foreign oil and
transforming our energy economy,” Merkley said. “Today marks the
beginning of an extremely important debate in the Senate that will determine
the nation’s economic future and the quality of life for our children and
grandchildren. This legislation will make our air cleaner, strengthen our
national security, and put millions of people to work creating clean, renewable
energy in Oregon and across America.”
Merkley pushed for the inclusion of provisions in the Clean Energy Jobs and
American Power Act that will promote American energy independence and create
clean energy jobs in Oregon, including:
- Investing in renewable energy and energy
efficiency. These investments create jobs in Oregon’s rapidly growing wind,
solar, and biomass sectors, and help families and businesses reduce energy
bills by investing in energy conservation. The Senate bill calls for greater
increases in renewable energy and energy efficiency investment than the House
bill did, with specific programs for thermal renewable energy and energy
conservation programs and for renewable energy generators.
- Ensuring that Oregon’s forest lands—both federal
and private lands—can provide sustainable and renewable biomass energy and be a
thriving part of America’s clean energy future.
- Requiring polluters to reduce pollution 20
percent by 2020. The pollution reduction and investment program established by
the bill cuts the pollution that threatens children’s health and causes global
warming, and it makes polluters pay to invest in clean energy technologies to
transform our economy. The Senate bill’s 20 percent pollution reduction
is an increase over the 17 percent reduction in the House bill and increases
investment in clean energy technologies.
- Reducing our dependence on foreign oil by
increasing investment in public transportation and other transportation
infrastructure. To save oil and emit less global warming pollution, the
bill establishes a program for major metropolitan areas and states to plan for
long-term transportation infrastructure that reduce oil dependence and meets
pollution reduction targets, similar to what the Portland metro area has
already started to do.
The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act additionally reduces pollution by
maintaining the tools of the Clean Air Act so the EPA can continue to use it to
reduce pollution that threatens children’s health, hold polluters accountable,
and ensure investment in the cleanest energy technology. This provision is
in addition to the requirement of 20 percent pollution reductions by 2020.
“Throughout our history, the United States has led the world
in innovation. By following this blueprint for transitioning to a clean
energy economy, we can harness American know-how to produce American technology
and American jobs. At the same time, we’ll be bolstering our communities,
strengthening our national security, and protecting our families from harmful
pollution,” Merkley said.