SEATTLE - The U.S. Senate has begun considering a major bill to clean
up the environment, increase the country's energy efficiency and create
jobs. Authors of the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act say the
savings will be greater than the price tag. The goals include reducing
carbon pollution by 20 percent within the next ten years.
For Gov. Chris Gregoire, who's attending a global climate summit for
governors from around the world this week, it's confirmation the state
has been moving in the right direction.
"We're the ones who are going to implement it on the ground. We're the
ones who are going to make it happen. But, we really need a national
strategy, a national piece of legislation. That's why, in my opinion,
today is a big step forward and much-needed."
Gregoire says local leaders from many countries who are attending the
summit complain about the same thing; their national governments are
"all talk and no action" when it comes to cleaning up their
environments. She's glad to see the new bill.
K.C. Golden, policy director for the Northwest group Climate Solutions, says even the utility companies seem to be on board with the idea that changes are coming.
"The climate of uncertainty is not good for them. They know this is an
issue we'll have to act on and they're actively engaged in trying to
make sure that Congress comes up with, and implements, a national
policy commitment that gives them some certainty, and some investment
Golden says the bill would mean more "green jobs" for the Northwest, as
well as cleaner cars, cleaner fuels and alternative types of
transportation. Opponents predict it will raise energy prices for
consumers, although the bill's sponsors say it is revenue-neutral.
The House already passed its version this summer. The Senate bill sets even tougher limits on global warming pollution.