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Obama urged to prioritize clean energy, climate legislation


Sen. Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) joined 16 of his Senate colleagues in sending a letter to President Barack Obama this week urging the president to prioritize clean energy and climate legislation capable of creating new economic opportunities.

“Passing climate legislation is not only critical for the environment, it will be a major job creator,” said Senator Akaka. “We must end Hawaii’s dependence on imported oil with investments in a green economy that will put people to work in the islands and create sources of clean, limitless energy.”

The text of the letter:

Jan. 26, 2010

Dear Mr. President:

As you set your Administration’s priorities for the coming year, we urge you to place clean energy and climate legislation capable of creating new economic opportunities at the top of your list. Legislation that invests in clean energy and puts a meaningful limit on carbon pollution will be a major job creator. With unemployment still hovering around 10% nationwide, our country desperately needs forward looking policies, such as clean energy and climate legislation, to reinvigorate our economy and achieve long term, sustained economic health.

At this critical juncture in our nation’s history, we face extraordinary economic, national security and environmental challenges. The solutions to these problems are intertwined with one another and begin with legislation that invests in clean energy technology and a new, 21st century infrastructure. That investment will create good jobs, put us on a path toward energy independence, and allow us to leave a healthy planet and economy to our children and grandchildren.

We believe, however, that passage of clean energy and climate legislation that addresses our country’s challenges is less likely without your personal leadership. We have seen the dramatic impact your involvement can have. We closely followed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) proceedings in Copenhagen and know that disagreements among nations had put those negotiations on a track toward failure. Your personal engagement brought world leaders to the table to work past the rhetoric, to address the issues critical to reaching an agreement. Through your leadership, we now have the historic Copenhagen Accord, the first commitment by all major emitters, including China and India, to reduce emissions within a transparent reporting framework.

A similarly clear signal from you that clean energy and climate legislation remains a top domestic priority, along with your personal engagement in Congress’s efforts, could provide the momentum necessary to pass a clean energy, climate change, and employment bill and again demonstrate the world leadership that the U.S. showed in December.

As you well know, there is a diversity of opinion in the Senate regarding the final form such legislation should take. A signal from you that we should continue the robust debate that has taken place in Congress in recent years will be crucial in reaching consensus on pending legislation. We all stand ready to work with you to advance a clear energy and climate policy that will enhance our economic competitiveness by unlocking billions of dollars in job-creating clean energy investments, increase American competitiveness in the global marketplace, improve our energy independence, and save our planet from the devastation threatened by climate change.


Senators Akaka, Bennet, Boxer, Cardin, Dodd, Feinstein, Gillibrand, Kaufman, Lautenberg, Leahy, Merkley, Reed, Sanders, Shaheen, Mark Udall, Tom Udall, and Whitehouse.

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