From the Wall Street Journal, June 25, 2009 — President Barack Obama pressed for passage of energy legislation Thursday afternoon ahead of a House vote Friday on a bill to curb greenhouse-gas emissions.
Speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House, Mr. Obama said Washington must not miss the opportunity to work on cleaning the air and at the same time creating new “green” energy jobs. He called the measure “a jobs bill” and said the country for far too long has been too reliant on energy from fossil fuels.
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Full Remarks of President Barack Obama
Statement on the Energy Bill
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Good afternoon. Right now, the House of Representatives is moving towards a vote of historic proportions on a piece of legislation that will open the door to a new, clean energy economy.
For more than three decades, we have talked about our dependence on foreign oil. And for more than three decades, we have seen that dependence grow. We have seen our reliance on fossil fuels jeopardize our national security. We have seen it pollute the air we breathe and endanger our planet. And most of all, we have seen other countries realize a critical truth: the nation that leads in the creation of a clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the 21st century global economy.
Now is the time for the United States of America to realize this too. Now is the time for us to lead.
The energy bill before the House will finally create a set of incentives that will spark a clean energy transformation in our economy. It will spur the development of low carbon sources of energy – everything from wind, solar, and geothermal power to safer nuclear energy and cleaner coal. It will spur new energy savings, like the efficient windows and other materials that reduce heating costs in the winter and cooling costs in the summer. And most importantly, it will make possible the creation of millions of new jobs.
Make no mistake: this is a jobs bill. We’re already seeing why this is true in the clean energy investments we’re making through the Recovery Act. In California, 3000 people will be employed to build a new solar plant that will create 1000 jobs. In Michigan, investment in wind turbines and wind technology is expected to create over 2,600 jobs. In Florida, three new solar projects are expected to employ 1400 people.
The list goes on and on, but the point is this: this legislation will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy. That will lead to the creation of new businesses and entire new industries. And that will lead to American jobs that pay well and cannot be outsourced. I have often talked about the need to build a new foundation for economic growth so that we do not return to the endless cycle of bubble and bust that led us to this recession. Clean energy and the jobs it creates will be absolutely critical to this new foundation.
This legislation has also been written carefully to address the concerns that many have expressed in the past. Instead of increasing the deficit, it is paid for by the polluters who currently emit dangerous carbon emissions. It provides assistance to businesses and families as they make the gradual transition to clean energy technologies. It gives rural communities and farmers the opportunity to participate in climate solutions and generate new income. And above all, it will protect consumers from the costs of this transition, so that in a decade, the price to the average American will be just about a postage stamp a day.
Because this legislation is so balanced and sensible, it has already attracted a remarkable coalition of consumer and environmental groups; labor and business leaders; Democrats and Republicans. Now I urge every member of Congress – Democrats and Republicans – to come together and support this legislation. I cannot stress enough the importance of this vote. I know this will be a close vote, in part because of the misinformation out there that suggests there is somehow a contradiction between investing in clean energy and economic growth.
But my call to those Members of Congress who are still on the fence, as well as the American people, is this: We cannot be afraid of the future. And we must not be prisoners of the past. We have been talking about this issue for decades. Now is the time to finally act.
There is no disagreement over whether our dependence on foreign oil is endangering our security. It is. There is no longer a debate about whether carbon pollution is placing our planet in jeopardy. It’s happening.
And there is no longer a question about whether the jobs and industries of the 21st century will be centered around clean, renewable energy. The question is – which country will create these jobs and these industries? I want that answer to be the United States of America. And I believe that the American people and the men and women they sent to Congress share that view. So let’s take this opportunity to come together and meet our obligations – to our constituents, to our children, to God’s creation, and to future generations. Thank you.