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Local leaders urge Minnesota Senators to push for passage of Comprehensive Clean Energy Legislation yet this year

Thu, Jun 3rd, 2010
Posted in State of Minnesota

St. Paul, MN: Local leaders today called on Senators Franken and Klobuchar to put pressure on other members of the United States Senate to establish as priority climate change legislation yet this year.

At a press conference with the Mississippi River in the background, local leaders used the mighty river to stress the commercial value of the river, as well as, it's natural beauty to stress the need for stronger protection of our rivers, oceans, and lands from the risks of traditional energy sources, including oil drilling and coal mining.

Friends of the Mississippi River executive director Whitney Clark pointed out the Mississippi River is one of the great rivers of the world and an ecological resource of international significance. He indicated that the river is the flyway of 40% of the North America's waterfowl and shorebirds and a source of drinking water for 20 million Americans, including more then a million people in the Twin Cities.

"While we sit here on top of the watershed we have a special responsibility to our fellow Americans downstream, as well as, our children and grandchildren to make sure that the river we pass along is healthy and fully support the human and natural communities that depend on it," Clark said. Friends in Louisiana are also doing all that they can to protect and defend their portion of the river that empties into the gulf.

"The gulf coast catastrophe has become the greatest environmental disaster in history and the BP spill has put our current energy polices and practices back on the front pages of the news," said Gary Botzek, executive director of the Minnesota Conservation Federation.

"The climate bill's provisions on transportation take us in the right direction, cutting global warming pollution by investing in fuel saving transportation infrastructure. We need the leadership of our Senators to create jobs, maintain our failing roads and bridges, while protecting our air and water," said Andrea Kiepe, Minnesota Field Organizer for Transportation For America. "Transportation must be part of the solution, since it accounts for nearly 30 percent of global warming pollution in the US and is responsible for 70 percent of the oil we use," she added.

"We cannot achieve true energy independence without the strong leadership of President Obama and Majority leader Harry Reid to generate the political will to pass a comprehensive climate and clean energy policy this year," said Representative Jeremy Kalin (D-North Branch, a member of the White House Task Force on Climate Change. "A comprehensive approach will help to put America in control of its energy future by reducing our dependence on foreign oil, creating jobs, and cutting carbon pollution," Kalin added.

Public support for comprehensive clean energy legislation remains strong. According to a new national poll by Benenson Strategy Group, 61 percent of 2010 voters support a bill that limits pollution, invests in domestic energy sources, and encourages companies to develop clean energy. There is also wide support for action among business, national security, environmental, labor, faith-based and veterans' organizations. This broad coalition believes that the bipartisan-supported legislation signifies a major step forward in passing meaningful climate and energy policies and that now is the time for the Senate to act.

"The President and the Senate have the responsibility to take action this year to move us to a new clean energy future," commented Scott Strand, executive director of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy. "Now is the time for Senator Klobuchar, Senator Franken, and other leaders in the Senate to put the coalition together and get the necessary 60 votes to pass comprehensive clean energy and climate change legislation," he added. "We are already seeing the effects of global climate change all over Minnesota and the consequences of our continued dependence on oil and fossil fuels have never been more evident," Strand concluded.

Additional speakers at the press conference provided additional reasons and perspectives for climate change legislation saying that the time to act is now if we are going to provide a cleaner energy future and a stronger and more prosperous country.

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