Statement of Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director
“With today’s historic vote, Congress has taken the first step toward
unleashing a true clean energy revolution. President Obama and tens of
millions of environmentalists, union members, veterans, people of
faith, small businesspeople, corporate leaders, sportsmen, and
concerned citizens have been calling on Congress to get America running
on clean energy. Congress has finally answered that call.
“Speaker Pelosi, Chairmen Waxman and Markey, and many others deserve
hearty congratulations for shepherding a comprehensive clean energy and
climate plan to passage. For decades, they have been the strongest
champions for our environment. Without their extraordinary leadership,
today’s vote would not have possible.
“This bill sets the stage for the dawn of the clean energy future.
While imperfect, it sets forth a set of goals America must achieve —
and exceed. Its most important achievement is setting the United
States on a path to reduce carbon emissions some 80 percent by 2050.
It also makes strides in halting international deforestation, requires
new buildings to dramatically slash energy waste, will speed the
development of made-in-America electric vehicles, and provides
important protections for workers, consumers, and others who may be
affected by our transition to a clean energy future.
“We urged the House to pass this bill so that we could work to
strengthen it before it reaches President Obama’s desk. It is now of
the utmost importance that the Senate improve several of its
provisions. In particular, a mechanism for cleaning up the oldest and
dirtiest coal plants must be included in a final bill. It’s also vital
that we ramp up the bill’s investments in energy efficiency, hasten our
transition toward clean energy sources like wind and solar, and steer
more of the bill’s investments toward the public benefit—not polluters.
“An unprecedented coalition of environmental, faith, community, labor,
veterans, business, and other groups mounted one of the most vigorous
grassroots campaigns in decades to move this crucial legislation
through the House. We will now redouble our efforts to move an even
stronger bill through the Senate and on to the president’s desk as soon