We are truly blessed here in Washington to live in a place with remarkable natural resources. We must work to protect our environment and ensure that our natural resources remain healthy. This is not only the right thing to do for our children and grandchildren; it's the smart thing to do for our economy. There are incredible opportunities in Washington to grow our economy through clean energy projects and the creation of green jobs.
We can make targeted, clean-energy investments that save energy and create jobs. Private and public investments in commercial building retrofitting, household retrofitting, solar panel installation, and other clean energy and energy conservation projects will expand the demand for skilled labor in each local community.
We need to develop a clean energy Smart Grid to better manage our power. The US Department of Energy should continue to push for a comprehensive Smart Grid in our country so we can more effectively and efficiently use the energy we do create. A Smart Grid would conserve and use energy more efficiently, saving families and small businesses money. We could develop here in Washington a local job force for retrofitting office buildings and homes to interact with a smarter power grid.
Jobs in the clean energy sector will continue to grow in the years ahead. We have a choice whether we want these jobs to be here in America or in other countries around the world. Congress must act to make sure that America becomes the center of clean energy research and manufacturing.
Climate Change and the Environment
The debate on climate change is long over -- it's real and mankind is contributing to it. We need to be responsible stewards of our planet and ensure that our actions do not cause long-term damage to our planet. Future generations deserve to inherit the same Earth we did. We must also demand global action to confront this global challenge. China and other developing nations will also need to curb their carbon output to prevent long-term damage to our climate.
Ensuring that our air and water are clean must also be a priority. Here in Washington, we need to continue the Puget Sound clean up. The Puget Sound is vital to our region's economy and our heritage. We need to ensure it remains pristine for all generations. This isn't just an issue of an aesthetically pleasing environment--it's an economic issue too. Shellfish growing, recreational fishing and other outdoor recreation and tourism activities all depend on a healthy Puget Sound.