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Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 7, 2009
CONTACT: Josh Dorner, 202.675.2384

Broken Record: Senate Committee Gets Earful On Clean Energy
Committee Hears Testimony from Clean Energy Supporters
& Climate Deniers as Debate on Legislation Begins

Washington, D.C.—The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee today heard testimony running the gamut on clean energy and global warming. Representatives from the Obama administration, state and local government, and more all testified before the committee as it starts to take up clean energy and climate legislation in the wake of House passage of the American Clean Energy & Security Act.

Sierra Club live-blogged the hearing on its Compass blog at www.sierraclub.org/compass and live-tweeted it on its new Twitter feed for live news event, @SierraClubLive.

The Good:

The Sierra Club applauds the excellent statements made on the importance of strong clean energy legislation by Environmental Protection Agency Administration Lisa Jackson, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

All underscored how strong clean energy legislation will create jobs, boost the economy and reduce our global warming pollution.

Positive testimony also came from Mayor John Fetterman of Braddock, Pennsylvania, who told the committee of the benefits his small, economically depressed town outside Pittsburgh has seen so far from energy efficiency upgrades. Fetterman asked the committee to draft solid legislation so Braddock and other low-income cities across the U.S. can benefit from the clean energy economy.

The panel also heard from David Hawkins of the Natural Resources Defense Council on the key areas in which the Senate can strengthen ACES: new or continued EPA authority to go after large emitters like our oldest and dirtiest coal plants, greater investments in energy efficiency, and a stronger short-term target.  He also pointed to the need to address problems with the bill’s offsets and biomass provisions. 

The Bad:

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) continued his long campaign of calling the science of global warming into question.  Senator Inhofe was joined by Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) and others who also continued to wildly exaggerate the costs of any clean energy jobs plan, using the worst kind of scare tactics and fear-mongering.

Also troubling was many senators’ continued insistence that nuclear power is the sole answer to our climate and energy problems.  Many have called for as many as 100 new nuclear power plants.  This plan ignores the cleaner, cheaper, safer, and faster emissions reductions that could be achieved through energy efficiency and clean energy.  And as Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) suggested, no state in the union has yet said it would accept the more than 75,000 tons of highly toxic nuclear waste from our existing fleet of reactors.  What’s more, reports indicate that 100 new reactors could cost as much as $4 TRILLION.  

The Ugly:

Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) took the opportunity to play the demagogue regarding two so-called EPA scandals.  Unfortunately, both incidents appear to be creations of the media and have been widely-discredited, despite efforts by conservatives to push the story.  As has been the case during previous appearances before the Committee, Adminstrator Jackson quickly and easily deflected Barrasso’s unfounded and unsubstantiated accusations.

For details on the earlier OMB “scandal” and a debunk of the more recent accusations, please visit:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/josh-dorner/the-fauxmb-memo-that-wasn_b_204090.html
http://www.businessinsider.com/sorry-the-epa-isnt-shutting-down-its-critics-2009-7
http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/07/climate_skeptic_i_was_hoping_people_at_epa_would_p.php
http://climateprogress.org/2009/06/30/epa-suppressed-report-endangerment-alan-carlin-cbs/#more-8549

Next:

The Senate EPW Committee’s Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety, chaired by Senator Thomas Carper of Delaware, will hold a hearing on the Clean Air Act. The hearing will be held this Thursday, July 9, at 10:00 a.m.  Full details are available at: http://bit.ly/6rn7R.

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