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Prepared Remarks by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) at a Press Conference with House Chairmen and Climate Coalition Leaders

Press Conference

Location: Washington, DC


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SPEAKER PELOSI: Good afternoon. Thirty-nine years ago this week, Americans joined together for the first Earth Day-spurred on by their concerns about pollution of the air and degradation of our environment.

Nearly four decades later, Americans must rally again to confront one of the most pressing challenges mankind has faced: the climate crisis.

Climate crisis is a national security issue; it is an environmental health issue; it is an economic issue; and, it is a moral issue, if you believe as we do -- as many of us do here that we have an obligation to future generations to preserve the climate as a moral obligation to preserve it as God's creation.

Next year, we will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, and at that time we hope to be able to look back and say, that at this time when were challenged with the climate crisis that I described and we all know that we will be able to say that we faced the challenge with legislation that was science based, value-based as well, and that put forth ideas of the future.

I'm very pleased that some of the Chairmen of the committees of jurisdiction took time to be with us this afternoon. They have committee meetings they have to go to, so I must acknowledge them early in our conversation here. Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Mr. Charlie Rangel; Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Henry Waxman; Chairman of the Ag Committee, Chairman Peterson and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and the Select Committee on Energy Security, Congressman Ed Markey.

(Each of the Chairmen speak.)

SPEAKER PELOSI: The timing of this challenge has been governed of course by environmental concerns and national security concerns. It is also governed by economic necessity. Our economic recovery and future prosperity hinge on whether the United States will be first in the world in the clean energy economy.

For our economy and workers, America must be first. President Kennedy said that at the time of the moon -- in the announcement of the moon launch -- he said: "If we act now on the vows of our Founders we must be first, and therefore we intend to be first."

And therefore, we intend to be first in the establishment of clean energy and investments in science and innovation that will produce good-paying, green jobs for our workers.

Across America, businesses like those represented here today are waiting for a signal from Washington that we are committed to a real, sustained transition to clean energy so that they can make the right investments in their businesses and their workers.

I am here as Speaker of the House to say that the commitment is real and that we will pass legislation this year.

This will be one of the most complex legislative efforts ever undertaken by any Congress. It will require the broad coalition of business, agriculture, technology, environmental, and faith groups who have joined us today to move this legislation forward and to enact it into law.

Energy independence and fighting climate change are flagship issues for this Congress. It will also be the impetus for new jobs and new economic revival for our country with a new President who is committed to addressing these energy security and climate crisis issues, we will succeed. And as I said before, on Earth Day next year we will not only have said this but we will celebrate the progress that we have made.

On this Earth Day, we commit not just ourselves, but our nation, to protecting our planet and creating jobs for our workers by passing clean energy legislation.


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