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Issue Position: Clean Energy

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I support an energy policy that promotes clean, renewable, domestic sources of energy that will fuel an economy that is sustainable, while protecting our environment and promoting our national security. I believe it is critical that energy policy works to prevent the worst effects of climate change by dramatically reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases over the next several decades.

Reliance on foreign-imported fossil fuels leaves us vulnerable to economic disruption by foreign nations wishing to influence U.S. foreign policy. We can no longer afford to ignore the fact that we import the majority of our petroleum, often from countries that do not share our democratic principles. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, we are the world's third largest producer of petroleum at 8.5 million barrels a day, but we consume 19.5 million barrels a day, which is nearly 25% of the world's consumption. Unfortunately, we sit on only about 3% of the world's proven reserves, so no matter what extremes we go to in exploring for oil domestically, we simply cannot drill our way out of this problem. And as we know, going to those extremes can have devastating consequences.

In early April, I wrote to the Administration in opposition to new plans to expand offshore oil drilling, particularly off Florida's coasts. The minimal benefits are far outweighed by the potential for great harm to our $65 billion dollar a year tourism industry. Florida relies on its reputation for pristine beaches and unique ecosystems. The late April Deepwater Horizon disaster that spilled 4.9 million barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico, was a somber reality check of how quickly these natural resources can be destroyed. While most of Florida was fortunate to have avoided the worst effects of the Gulf oil spill, we may not be so lucky next time. So we need to make sure there is no "next time." I have no doubt that we need a new way forward with energy production.

It is why I voted for H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. The legislation, which passed the House in June of 2009, would create millions of new clean energy jobs here in America, save consumers hundreds of billions of dollars in energy costs, enhance America's energy independence, and cut global warming pollution. While the Senate has yet to act on this legislation or a plan of its own, I will continue to support any legislation that meets these goals.


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