Merkley: Clean Energy Bill Will Promote Energy Independence and Job Creation

Merkley: Clean Energy Bill Will Promote Energy Independence and Job Creation

Merkley Joins Senators Boxer and Kerry to Introduce the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act

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.