Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) released the following statement today after President Barack Obama outlined a new energy proposal that includes investments for renewable fuels, sets goals to reduce carbon emissions, and advances energy efficient technologies that reduce waste and lower utility bills for homes and businesses across the country. The Administration's Climate Action Plan calls for a streamlined approach to addressing climate change by supporting local investments, improving protections and alert systems for communities affected by extreme weather, and streamlining the Rural Energy for America Program -- an initiative that Harkin included in the 2002 farm bill to assist farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses in developing renewable energy systems and making energy efficient improvements to their operations.
"I am pleased that the President is addressing climate change head-on. This is one of the biggest challenges facing humanity and the planet today and in the decades to come. It literally will disrupt the lives of hundreds of millions, and perhaps billions, of people in the world. With the creation of over 65,000 jobs in the wind and biofuels sectors in Iowa in just the past decade, we've demonstrated that the President's call for increased use of renewable energy expands employment and spurs economic development for the middle class while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Today's plan also reiterates the President's support for biofuels, which enhance energy security by decreasing dependency on imported fuels, reduce emissions from our autos and trucks, and boost economic development from feedstock production and biorefinery systems across the country.
"In addition, the Climate Action Plan rightly emphasizes reducing carbon emissions from our electric power sector -- a field that represents 40 percent of our total carbon emissions. I also am pleased with the President's call for EPA to engage with states, industry, and other stakeholders as these power sector emissions' rules are formulated.
"I have been calling for a transformation of our nation's energy systems for years, and this plan is exactly aligned with that transition strategy. I applaud both the breadth and the focus of the President's plan."