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Earth Day: A Billion Acts of Green

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This year's Earth Day theme, "A Billion Acts of Green," is a rallying cry I hope inspires you to help protect our planet.

Here at home, I'm spending tomorrow on Oahu's Windward side helping the organization Papahana Kuaola clear the area surrounding its taro lo"i. I encourage all of you to join me or participate in any number of Earth Day events throughout the weekend.

PROTECTING OUR PLANET ON CAPITOL HILL

In Washington DC, I continue the effort in Congress to protect our environment by promoting earth-friendly legislation while also standing up against measures that do our planet harm.

Earlier this month, I spoke in opposition to the Energy Tax Prevention Act (H.R. 910). This Republican-backed bill has nothing to do with limiting taxes on energy. Rather, it should be called the "Dirty Air Act" because it prevents the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from acting under the Clean Air Act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are unequivocally linked to climate change.

Unfortunately, the "Dirty Air Act" was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and is now being considered by the U.S. Senate.

GREENING OF HAWAII

The greening of Hawaii is happening.

Renewable energy efforts on Oahu received a significant boost last month with the launching of the 30 megawatt (MW) Kahuku Wind Power project. Using Hawaii's abundant natural resouces, like wind, will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and keep billions of dollars from leaving our state.

Earlier this week, Better Place launched the first electric car charging network in Hawaii. We all feel the pain at the pump with gas running at $4.50 a gallon. The makers of the new generation of electric cars boast they'll cost less than 2 cents a mile to drive. Now that's a step in the right direction toward sustainable transportation and away from oil dependency.

Let Earth Day 2011 serve as a reminder of the work that still needs to be done to ensure our island home remains beautiful for future generations. I encourage each of you to join me in taking part in a "Billion Acts of Green," reinforcing the importance of Earth Day not only this weekend but throughout the year.


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