Washington, D.C., January 27, 2011 — Following the State of the Union Address, in which President Obama called for a focus on investment and policies to grow America's clean energy economy, the leaders of the Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition welcomed the president's remarks.
Since its founding at the start of the 111th Congress, SEEC — a caucus of 47 House Democrats — has sought to advance policies that will grow promising domestic clean energy industries, arguing the economic, national security, and environmental benefits of renewable energy and energy efficiency. SEEC leaders were glad to see the president embrace their clean energy agenda as a priority at the start of 2011.
"I am encouraged by the president's call for making the necessary investments and enacting policies to promote an American clean energy economy, which will allow our nation to win the twenty-first century global clean energy race" said SEEC Co-Chair Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA), whose book 'Apollo's Fire: Igniting America's Clean Energy Economy,' was echoed in the president's remarks tonight as he called this America's "Sputnik Moment," and said that "we're telling America's scientists and engineers that if they assemble teams of the best minds in their fields, and focus on the hardest problems in clean energy, we'll fund the Apollo Projects of our time."
"I was glad to hear the president talk about ending our dependence on imported oil," said SEEC Vice Chair Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME). "We have seen time and time again that creating home grown solutions to our energy problems not only makes us more independent but also creates good paying jobs that can't be exported. I look forward to working with my fellow SEEC members and other colleagues to help create clean energy jobs."
"The president's discussion of clean energy tonight was critical, I only wish there could have been more," said SEEC Vice Chair Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO). "Clean energy and green-tech are boom industries in Colorado because we have innovative policies that drive investment and help businesses get off the ground. The US must move forward with these innovative policies, fostering investment and driving job growth, and not simply be fearful of change or handcuffed by those feeding our addiction to fossil fuels. Clean Energy means economic prosperity, public health and national security all in one; it's essential that we move forward not back."
"Northern Virginia's economy exemplifies the potential for economic growth and improvements in air quality," said SEEC Vice Chair Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA). "Our private sector, from wind and solar manufacturers to contractors who help companies reduce carbon pollution, relies on a transparent, predictable regulatory process for regulation of dangerous air pollution. I applaud President Obama for his support for increased clean energy investments and also for his support for the Clean Air Act, both of which will help our clean energy companies continue to grow."
SEEC Vice Chair Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) was with President Obama in New York on Friday as the President toured the site of a future General Electric advanced battery manufacturing facility. Tonko said "I commend the president for his bold vision on transforming our energy future — the evidence is clear: American leadership in clean energy technologies will create good jobs here at home, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and preserve our environment for generations to come. However, we are woefully behind other countries in these areas. I agree with the president, and have been advocating for years — this is the Sputnik moment of our time. Meeting this challenge and winning the global race on energy promises to transform our economy and lead to greater opportunities for future generations, in the same way the Space Race led to the advancements we enjoy today. And so we ask, what are we waiting for?"
In his State of the Union address President Obama called for increased investments in clean energy innovation, and for ending tax subsidies for
Big Oil — both policy positions espoused by SEEC during the previous
Congress. The president also called for a goal for the U.S. to generate 80 percent of its electricity from clean energy resources, by 2035.
In its first two years of existence SEEC helped to pass historic clean energy investments and incentives in the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, and comprehensive energy and climate legislation in the House of Representatives, among other legislation. SEEC members have said that they look forward to working with the Obama administration and Congressional leaders to advance policies for clean energy, in the 112th Congress.