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Markey: President Obama Needs To ‘Make The Case In Prime Time’ For Clean Energy Reform

By Brad Johnson  

"Markey: President Obama Needs To ‘Make The Case In Prime Time’ For Clean Energy Reform"

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The author of comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation believes that President Obama can convince the American public to embrace energy reform. Yesterday, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu spoke at the Harvard Kennedy School on “Laying the Foundation for the Next Generation of Clean Energy Jobs.” Both Markey and Secretary Chu argued that the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act, which passed the House in June and is now under consideration by the Senate, is critical to keeping America economically competitive. Responding to a question from the Wonk Room about the fears being expressed at town hall meetings about the cap-and-trade legislation, Markey explained that the American public need to know how this bill will cut our dependence on foreign oil, create millions of new jobs, and strengthen our national security:

I think once the president makes this case in prime time, after this health care debate passes us by, I think it’s going to pass. I think the American people are going to understand the bill and support the bill in overwhelming numbers. The polling actually says that when the argument is made that way, 70 percent Americans want us to finally put this relationship we have with these old technologies to the rear of us and move ahead. And that’s going to be our opportunity this fall, hopefully with the help of everyone here.

Watch it:

Markey concluded that “the larger goals in this bill, what it’s going to accomplish, are so historic, that it would be the most important energy and environmental bill that has ever passed this United States Congress.” To great applause, he asked the entire audience of climate activists and clean energy supporters to accomplish its passage.

Transcript:

MARKEY: If Americans understood that we produce 8 million barrels of oil a day, but we import 13 million barrels of oil a day, and this bill combined with fuel economy standards can reduce by 5 million barrels of oil a day the amount of oil we import, I mean we can tell OPEC we don’t need your oil any more than we need your sand– that’s a big selling point.

If we tell them we can create two to three million new jobs in this sector over the next ten years– that’s a big selling point.

If we tell them we can stabilize countries around the world that are otherwise going to be destabilized by what climate change is going to do to their rivers, to their glaciers, to their deserts– I think that’s a big selling point.

I think once the president makes this case in prime time, after this health care debate passes us by, I think it’s going to pass. I think the American people are going to understand the bill and support the bill in overwhelming numbers. The polling actually says that when the argument is made that way, 70 percent Americans want us to finally put this relationship we have with these old technologies to the rear of us and move ahead. And that’s going to be our opportunity this fall, hopefully with the help of everyone here.

All issues go through three phases: political education, political activation, political implementation. We’re going to need everyone here to make this possible.

Yes, you can find deficiencies in the bill. But the larger goals in this bill, what it’s going to accomplish, are so historic, that it would be the most important energy and environmental bill that has ever passed this United States Congress. And we’re going to need everyone here if we are going to accomplish that. [APPLAUSE]

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