U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chair of the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee, today hosted the Senate Democratic Green Jobs Summit. Vice President Joe Biden delivered the keynote address where he pledged the Obama administration's continued support for clean energy investments that preserve the environment and create good-paying jobs in the process. The summit brought together Democratic Senators with nearly 200 attendees from across the country that represent clean industries such as solar, wind, electric battery/automobile, biofuels, and other renewable energy sectors.
"By investing in clean energy, we are not only taking steps to make our country more energy independent, but we are helping to put Americans back to work," said Stabenow. "Today's summit has been a fantastic opportunity to bring together businesses and lawmakers who are working hard to position our country as a leader in the 21st century economy. I am especially proud of the Michigan companies here today that are developing clean energy technologies of the 21st century right here in the U.S."
Michigan had ten businesses present, including A123Systems, ArvinMeritor, Cascade Engineering, Chrysler, Dow Chemical Company, Energy Conversion Devices, Ford Motor Company, MAGNA International, Next Energy, and Sakti3. Today's summit came shortly after Senator Stabenow addressed the National Summit hosted by the Detroit Economic Club in Detroit, where she called for a partnership between the government and the private sector to support alternative energy technologies in a clean tech economy.
More than 60 companies attended the summit, which was divided into two sessions. The first session focused on the impact that investments in clean energy and technology will have on the economy. The second session focused on how to train and transition our nation's workforce into clean energy industries. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Mark Udall (D-CO) participated in question and answer panels throughout the summit. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman gave closing remarks.
The summit also comes on the same day that the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, of which Senator Stabenow is a member, passed the American Clean Energy Leadership Act of 2009. Highlights of the bill include:
Accelerate the introduction of new clean energy technologies in the United States, creating new jobs and helping businesses grow through clean energy project financing, a renewable electricity standard and a robust and secure national electricity transmission highway;
Increase energy efficiency in buildings, major equipment and appliances, saving consumers and businesses billions of dollars on their energy bills;
Enhance America's energy independence by increasing clean energy supplies and energy security, including new access to over 20 trillion cubic feet of clean natural gas resources;
Strengthen America as the world leader in energy innovation, by doubling our national investment in energy research and technology;
Build a new energy workforce for the future;
Protect consumers by making energy markets more transparent and fair, and by providing new tools to fight market manipulation; and
Tackle future energy and climate challenges with smarter, more integrated planning.