Opening Statement of Chairman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.)
Full Committee Markup of ACES Act
Good Afternoon. I particularly want to thank you, Chairman Waxman for your leadership and your tireless efforts to produce a consensus product. I, like you Mr. Chairman, was first elected to Congress when Gerald Ford was President. And I believe that this bill is the most important, far-reaching legislation in our three decades on the Energy and Commerce Committee. It combines two of the great imperatives of our time: the economic necessity to create millions of new clean energy jobs and the national security necessity of ending our dangerous dependence on foreign oil.
It has been over 35 years since President Nixon first called for America's independence from foreign oil, yet we continue to bleed billions of dollars every year to OPEC. America invented both solar and wind technologies, yet we continue to hemorrhage jobs overseas, and watch other countries take the lead in developing 21st century clean energy innovations. And do not be fooled by the siren song of low gas prices. Just as we know the American economy will come roaring back, so too do we know that a return to $4 a gallon gasoline looms just over the horizon. We know its coming.
And that is why we are here today. Not simply to declare our energy independence but to take aggressive action to guide our country forward into a clean energy future.
After decades of fits and starts, today we have a rare opportunity to put people back to work with millions of clean energy jobs and to improve our global climate. With this bill, we will stand up and say NO to OPEC oil ministers holding America hostage. We will create good paying jobs that cannot be sent overseas.
As we worked to craft this historic legislation, we made sure that every region of the country and every sector of the economy had a seat at the table. This bill offers a comprehensive solution to our energy, national security, and economic challenges. It stands tall because it rests on the foundation of a compromise reached with business leaders, labor unions, and environmental activists who worked with us to craft a policy that will create new clean energy jobs and unleash investment in clean energy technologies.
This bill is a collaborative effort that reflects the contributions of Committee members. This compromise would not have been possible without the work of:
-Rick Boucher, for his work on the coal and utility provisions.
-Chairman Dingell and Betty Sutton for their work with the auto industry,
- Mike Doyle and Jay Inslee, who worked so hard to protect workers in trade exposed, energy-intensive industries,
-Gene Green and Charlie Gonzalez for their work on oil issues.
-Bart Gordon for his work on energy research and development.
-And so many others who have worked hard to reach this day.
Overcoming conventional wisdom is never easy, but we worked hard to produce a consensus product.
This bill is about protecting our national security, our pocketbooks and our planet. This bill is about America reclaiming its rightful place as the world's leader in clean energy technology. It sends a clear signal that America is ready to lead in developing the clean energy technologies of tomorrow and ready to take the lead in making clean energy the profitable kind of energy.
In short, we have a chance now to do what we all came here to do-to help make a better America, a stronger America, an America that leads, rather than follows, an America that sells rather than buys, and an America that innovates rather than stagnates.
This bill is our chance to do that.
This bill offers the chance of changing our economy for the better, for decades and even centuries to come. This week, we all get our chance to make a choice. I choose a clean energy future, and hope all of my colleagues will join me.