SEEC to President: “The Time to Act is Now and We Applaud Your Leadership”

Jul 15, 2013 Issues: Climate Change

WASHINGTON, D.C.—On Friday, 44 members of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC) sent a letter to President Obama commending him for his leadership on climate change, exhibited through his recently announced Climate Action Plan.  The letter notes components of the President’s plan for which SEEC Members have advocated and affirms the Coalition’s commitment to addressing climate change.

 “I am proud to join my SEEC colleagues in support of the President’s reasonable action plan to address climate change,” said SEEC Co-Chair Rep. Paul Tonko (NY). “There is so much to be gained from a serious and sustained investment in clean energy and energy efficiency, it is senseless to continue to stand on the sidelines. It is my hope that House Leadership will recognize that the threat of climate change is one that is already here, and will work with us to enact the President’s commonsense proposals.”

SEEC Co-Chair Rep. Steve Israel (NY) said: “I’m pleased to join my SEEC colleagues in thanking President Obama for his leadership on climate change.  SEEC members understand the unique challenges facing us as we tackle climate change, and we’re fortunate to have a President who is taking an important step forward on this issue.”

"I commend President Obama for his leadership in outlining a comprehensive plan to reduce carbon pollution and mitigate the threats of global climate change,” said SEEC Vice-Chair Rep. Rush Holt (NJ).  “The crisis in not waning.  President Obama should do all he can administratively while Congress fiddles. We have to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.”

 “Climate change left unaddressed will continue to bring devastating consequences to our communities,” said SEEC Vice-Chair Rep. Doris Matsui (CA). “I commend President Obama for taking meaningful steps to address our country’s carbon pollution and to mitigate the dangerous effects it has on our environment and public health.  Congress should follow the President’s lead and enact responsible climate policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, invest in clean energy technology, and create jobs.”

“Addressing changing climate and preparing for extreme weather should continue to be a national priority,” said Climate Task Force Chair Rep. Scott Peters (CA).  “We must start working toward environmental sustainability now, including reducing the impact of harmful super pollutants. I look forward to working with the administration to find innovative approaches to improving our air and water.”

“I commend President Obama for addressing global climate change and putting a plan in motion that would help our environment long after he has left office,” said SEEC Energy Task Force Chair Congressman Jim Langevin (RI). “After years of scientists and environmentalists warning us that climate change posed a very real threat, we are feeling the effects. We are experiencing more frequent and intense storms, global temperature increase and rising sea levels, among other things, and it is time that we took a stand. Thank you, President Obama, for leading the charge.”

SEEC Member Rep. Henry Waxman (CA) said: “The President is absolutely right to act now.  Climate change is one of the great moral issues of our time, and we have a duty to our children and grandchildren to be responsible stewards of the earth.  The President is listening to the science and acting responsibly to protect the nation from the dangers of runaway carbon pollution.” 

“The American people are seeing the effects of climate change and expect their government to act,” said SEEC Member Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR). “President Obama's address on climate change brought welcome focus to the issue, outlining some concrete steps to be taken.  We need immediate action to combat many of the immediate dangers facing our planet, and we need to implement, not just outline, sound policies that will lower carbon emissions and protect and preserve the valuable resources that we have.”

SEEC Member Rep. Barbara Lee (CA) said, “I applaud the President for his Climate Action Plan.  It is far past time to address this crisis.  For communities of color, who have shouldered a disproportionate burden of the effects of climate change, it is essential that we tackle this problem together; low-income communities face higher occurrences of chronic diseases like asthma and are more vulnerable to natural disasters. For so many African Americans and communities of color, the impact of climate change is a real and present danger—they bear the brunt of the effects of pollution, toxic dump sites, and greenhouse gas emissions, leading to higher rates of asthma and a greater vulnerability to natural disasters. It’s far past time for us to address this, together.”

“President Obama understands that we must address critical environmental issues that, if left untouched, will cause irreparable harm for future generations,” said SEEC Member Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (MA). “Focusing on clean energy and innovation can not only protect the world we live in, but boost job growth and help strengthen the economy. The White House can’t make these changes alone, and it is time for Congress to follow the President’s lead and take strong action, harness modern technology and find creative solutions to protect our environment. As a founding member of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition and member of the House Natural Resources Committee, I urge my colleagues and House Leadership to make this issue a priority.”

 “President Obama’s plan is a step in the right direction and I am encouraged that the E.P.A. is moving quickly on meaningful standards for power plants. Strong power plant standards are an imperative if we’re going to avert the worst impacts of climate change,” SEEC Member Congressman Jared Huffman (CA) said. “Fighting climate change is the biggest imperative of our time. The stakes are high, and ignoring it will not make the problem go away.”

 “I applaud the President for acting on the news that the GAO stated earlier this year,” said SEEC Member Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA).  “The threats climate change poses to our nation’s infrastructure, national security, and agricultural sector are some of the most pressing risks to the nation.  In the coming months I intend to release a comprehensive climate adaptation bill that will address the need to protect our nation’s assets and citizens from the devastation that is inevitable if we do not slow, stop, and reverse climate pollution.”

“I applaud the President for taking urgently needed action to address climate change,” SEEC Member Rep. David Price (NC) said. “Protecting the air we breathe, the water we drink and the land we depend on for the food we eat, should be a non-partisan issue. SEEC members will continue to work with the President to protect our environment for future generations.”

SEEC Member Rep. Lois Capps (CA) said: “From stronger storms, to sea level rise, to changes in fresh water supply, climate change is not only taking a toll on our environment and infrastructure, but is threatening public health as well. I commend the President for taking this important step forward, and I hope the House Majority will follow his example and take action soon to address this critical issue.”

Letter signers include: SEEC Co-Chairs Reps. Gerald Connolly (VA), Paul Tonko (NY), and Steve Israel (NY); SEEC Vice-Chairs Reps. Rush Holt (NJ), Chellie Pingree (ME), Doris Matsui (CA), and Jared Polis (CO); SEEC Climate Task Force Chair Rep. Scott Peters (CA); SEEC Energy Task Force Chair Rep. Jim Langevin (RI); SEEC Environment Task Force Chair Rep. Judy Chu (CA); SEEC Members Reps. Jackie Speier (CA), Donna Christensen (VI), John Delaney (MD), Barbara Lee (CA), Jared Huffman (CA), Chris Van Hollen (MD), George Miller (CA), Lois Capps (CA), Niki Tsongas (MA), Brad Schneider (IL), Henry Waxman (CA), Jim Moran (VA), Mike Honda (CA), Peter Welch (VT), Donna Edwards (MD), Matt Cartwright (PA), Emanuel Cleaver (MO), Bill Keating (MA), John Garamendi (CA), Raul Grijalva (AZ), John Sarbanes (MD), Mike Quigley (IL), Lloyd Doggett (TX), Jan Schakowsky (IL), Susan Davis (CA), Louise Slaughter (NY), Steve Cohen (TN), Earl Blumenauer (OR), Jim McDermott (WA), Zoe Lofgren (CA), John Larson (CT), David Price (NC), Jim McGovern (MA), and Keith Ellison (MN).

The full text of the letter is below:

July 12, 2013

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20220

Dear Mr. President:

As members of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC), we commend you for your leadership to address our changing climate through your recently unveiled Climate Action Plan.  The effects of climate change are starting to take hold and our constituents are feeling the impacts, either through personal experience or through their wallet as they pay for damages.  To protect Americans now and in the future, we must take action to address this challenge.  Your proposed plan provides reasonable steps that will enable us to do that. 

This multi-pronged effort builds on successful initiatives advocated for and supported by SEEC Members.  In December of last year, we encouraged then Secretary Salazar to continue his work to develop renewable energy on public lands.  Our members have introduced proposals for federal buildings to receive 20 percent of their power from renewable energy sources by 2020.  We applauded your Administration’s work to increase vehicle fuel efficiency, which helps our constituents save money at the pump.  Earlier this year, SEEC spearheaded an effort among our House colleagues to call on the Department of Housing and Urban Development, as a leader of the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, to issue guidance for the installation of combined heat and power (CHP) systems.  As you know, CHP allowed many facilities, including hospitals, to maintain power during events such as hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.  We are pleased to see these ideas adopted in your plan.

Members of our Coalition have and will continue to support safeguards that protect public health by reducing toxins that pollute our air and water.  Your proposal would apply similar safeguards to carbon pollution, through a measured approach that engages states and interested parties from across the spectrum.  This type of engagement is critical to getting in place achievable protections that will withstand challenge.    

Be assured that SEEC Members will continue to fight for policies in Congress that will address climate change.  The time to act is now and we applaud your leadership.

Sincerely,

Members of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition