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Energy Reform Bill Takes Historic Step

June 29, 2009
Press Release
Will Help Revitalize Economy, Reduce Our Dependence on Foreign Oil and Reduce the Pollution that Causes Global Warming

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro (Conn. – 3), chairwoman of the Agriculture, Rural Development, and Food and Drug Administration Appropriations Subcommittee, praised the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) citing the steps it will take to help strengthen and grow the economy by creating millions of new jobs, increase our national security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and preserve our planet by reducing the pollution that causes global warming.

“This bill is a significant step towards a better future, and a major break from the past eight years of ignoring our energy crisis. For the first time, it would create a system of clean energy incentives designed to revitalize the economy and reduce the carbon pollution that causes global warming,” said DeLauro. “The effects of global warming are visible here and now. In Connecticut, global warming is a threat to our health, our wetlands, our lobster fisheries, and our economy. This bill is our chance to mitigate that threat – a chance that will not come again soon.

“Future generations are counting on us to do the right thing today – to set our country on a path towards a cleaner, more prosperous future.”

Additionally, DeLauro joined with Congressman Rush Holt (NJ-12) to successfully amend the legislation to authorize a study to better understand consumer behavior so we can more effectively encourage people to reduce their energy consumption.

DeLauro highlighted the job creation from the legislation that will spur the nation’s long-term growth, adding, “The bill will unleash private sector investment in clean energy to create millions of new jobs that cannot be outsourced and make America the global leader in clean energy technology. And through job training programs like the Green Construction Demo Project and additional funding for the Green Jobs Act we make sure everyone will benefit from this job creation.”

ACES will create new jobs in a number of different of industry sectors, although construction will get the biggest boost and the Green Construction Demo Project ensures that these green construction jobs are good jobs, and are accessible to all of our communities, while the additional Green Jobs Act funding ensures dollars for the training programs, including directing a significant portion of these new resources to create green pathways out of poverty for the members of our communities who are too often at the margins of our current economy

For Connecticut, inaction means:

Temperatures Rising: projected temperature increases over the next decades would alter Hartford’s climate to make it similar to Philadelphia and by the century’s end similar to Raleigh, N.C. This could result in higher numbers of heat-related illnesses and deaths (particularly among elderly populations and low-income groups, the most vulnerable to heat stress), and an increase in insect-borne pathogens like Lyme disease and West Nile Virus.

Lobster Fisheries Floundering: between 2003 and 1998, lobster populations were down 70%, the leading cause of which have been warmer water temperature. The value of the Long Island Sound lobster fishery have fallen from $42 million in 1998 to $10 million in 2002, the economic impacts have been devastating, plunging many lobstermen into financial ruin.

Increased Flooding: Connecticut's increasing rate of sea level rise projected for the next century could result in greater frequency of more severe hurricanes placing important transportation infrastructure at risk for flooding, including Amtrak rail lines and stations, the Tweed-New Haven Airport and parts of the Connecticut Turnpike (I-95) as well as the University of Bridgeport, the Navy Reserve Center, sewage disposal plants and the oil tanks at Johnson Creek.

Lost Wetlands: Tte effects of flooding and sea-level rise could mean the disappearance of a large percentage of Connecticut's coastal wetlands, which are already stressed by development and other human activities.

Worsened Air Quality, Increased Asthma Rates: high concentrations of smog still threaten the health of residents, which exacerbates asthma symptoms and triggers attacks. Connecticut's asthma rate - which surpasses the U.S. average, with more than 200,000 adults and 75,000 children affected across the state - could get worse. This would carry a tremendous financial as well as health burden - for example, in 1998, asthma treatment cost the state's residents approximately $134 million.

To avoid these effects in Connecticut and across the country, the American Clean Energy and Security Act will:

• CREATE JOBS: The bill will boost private sector investment in clean energy that will create millions of new jobs that can’t be shipped overseas and make America the global leader in clean energy technology. Clean energy technology – made in America.

• MAKE US MORE ENERGY INDEPENDENT: The bill will cut the use of oil and petroleum products by two million barrels a day in 2030 - as much oil as we currently import from the Persian Gulf.

• REDUCE POLLUTION: The bill reduces dangerous pollution by limiting emissions from electric utilities, oil refineries, and other major sources. These limits are ambitious, achievable, and will be fairly enforced.

• PROTECT CONSUMERS: This bill will invest in cost-saving energy technology to save consumers money. The bill also protects consumers with price spike protection, energy tax credits, and cost-saving technology.

• KEEP COSTS LOW: The EPA has indicated the legislation would cost the typical American household less than a postage stamp per day, or less than $140 a year—even before cost-savings are factored in.

• HELP INDUSTRY TRANSITION: The legislation protects jobs now, and helps energy-intensive industries like the steel, iron, and paper industries transition to a cleaner, profitable future.