Democratic News

Jun 29 2015

Democratic Senators Lay Out Energy Principles, Pen Letter to Governors Requesting Policy Input

Clean Energy Jobs, Infrastructure and Innovation Key to Economic Growth

Washington, D.C. – Today, 45 Senate Democrats released a letter to all 50 governors requesting input on the first new, national energy policy in almost a decade. The senators outlined their principles for a national energy policy as (1) investing in clean energy, (2) empowering consumers, (3) modernizing infrastructure, (4) cutting carbon pollution and waste, and (5) investing in research and development.

Senate Democrats want an energy policy that unleashes American innovation, rewards middle-class families for smart energy choices and keeps our air and water clean for generations to come. The senators are seeking input from the governors because of the essential partnership between federal and state governments.

In addressing it to governors, the letter keys off findings contained in the administration’s first Quadrennial Energy Review, which noted that among the challenges associated with modernizing our energy infrastructure is the fact that “a significant portion of the related legal, regulatory and policy development and implementation occurs at state and local levels.” As such, making progress toward these overarching principles requires a robust partnership between state and federal entities, and alignment of associated policies and financing mechanisms.

“The need for clean, reliable and efficient supplies of energy is becoming closely intertwined with our economic growth and global competitiveness. In fact, investing in clean energy technology has created hundreds of thousands of new jobs. We need to keep investing in cleaner, lower-cost energy solutions so that America won't be left behind,” said Sen. Cantwell, ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

“Most of America’s power system was built before cell phones or the Internet even existed. That is why we need an energy policy that encourages innovation, rewards Americans for choosing clean energy and levels the playing field for those who generate cleaner energy and cut waste. Climate change is the most significant challenge our world faces. Many states have acted and Congress needs to finally take it seriously. Updating our outdated energy policy is a good place to start, and we look forward to reviewing suggestions from our country’s governors,” said Sen. Harry Reid, Democratic Leader.

“The time is now to update America’s energy policy for the 21st century,” said Sen. Schumer. “Rather than reflexively oppose the administration’s efforts to develop clean energy technologies and take action on climate change, Senate Democrats want to work with all 50 governors to generate bottom-up energy policies that are collaborative and innovative. The only way we can we can upgrade our nation’s energy system is for all states to be engaged and willing partners.”

“I have long said we need a true all-of-the-above energy strategy – that includes renewable energies as well as fossil fuels, and we need to build the energy infrastructure that will help enable us to become more energy secure and independent. We can use all of these resources while building the technology to make them cleaner and reduce emissions,” said Sen. Heitkamp. “Last summer, I pressed the Energy Secretary to hold one of the agency’s national energy strategy meetings in North Dakota because any discussion about our energy future has to include my state. Now we need to hear from governors who will have keen insight into how we can build out these policies starting in each state."

Read the full letter below:

June 29, 2015

Dear Governor,

We believe it is time for the U.S. Senate to consider the first update to our nation’s energy policies in almost a decade. In particular, we believe the U.S. must establish a framework that helps unleash investment in our infrastructure sufficient to ensure all American citizens and businesses have access to affordable, efficient, reliable and cleaner energy; and that we must do so in a way that cuts carbon emissions, in order to address climate change and the substantial impacts it is already having on communities across the country.

We are writing to ask your support for the following goals. Your feedback will help us collectively craft a path forward on an energy policy that unleashes America’s limitless capacity for innovation, rewards middle-class families for making smart energy choices, and keeps our air and water clean for generations to come. In particular we believe in the following principles:

  • Investing in clean energy: The U.S. should continue on a trajectory that encourages investment, invention and deployment of the clean energy technologies that are creating jobs today, and will continue to do so for decades to come–from renewable energy and low-carbon fossil energy, to storage and advanced grid systems.

  • Empowering consumers: We must protect consumers, ensure the safety, physical security and cybersecurity of our infrastructure, and empower our citizens and businesses to make their own energy choices.

  • Modernizing infrastructure: We must modernize our energy infrastructure, to ensure we have reliable and resilient systems in place that can respond to the complex needs of a 21st Century economy.

  • Cutting pollution and waste: We must cut pollution and end needless waste in both the way we use energy, and in the way in which governments execute our energy policy objectives.

  • Investing in research and development: Finally, we must continue to make foundational investments in the research and development that ensure U.S. businesses will successfully compete in growing global markets for new energy products and services.

In short, we recognize that the success of our efforts to address today’s challenges and tomorrow’s opportunities will continue to rely on a foundational partnership between federal policymakers and States. As such, we seek your input on policies consistent with these shared principles, to help guide our consideration of reasonable, commonsense updates to our nation’s energy policy.

Sincerely,

The Honorable Maria Cantwell
U.S. Senator, Washington

The Honorable Harry Reid
U.S. Senator, Nevada

The Honorable Charles Schumer
U.S. Senator, New York

The Honorable Heidi Heitkamp
U.S. Senator, North Dakota

The Honorable Tammy Baldwin
U.S. Senator, Wisconsin

The Honorable Michael Bennet
U.S. Senator, Colorado

The Honorable Richard Blumenthal
U.S. Senator, Connecticut

The Honorable Cory Booker
U.S. Senator, New Jersey

The Honorable Barbara Boxer
U.S. Senator, California

The Honorable Sherrod Brown
U.S. Senator, Ohio

The Honorable Benjamin Cardin
U.S. Senator, Maryland

The Honorable Thomas Carper
U.S. Senator, Delaware

The Honorable Robert Casey, Jr.
U.S. Senator, Pennsylvania

The Honorable Christopher Coons
U.S. Senator, Delaware

The Honorable Joe Donnelly
U.S. Senator, Indiana

The Honorable Richard Durbin
U.S. Senator, Illinois

The Honorable Dianne Feinstein
U.S. Senator, California

The Honorable Al Franken
U.S. Senator, Minnesota

The Honorable Kirsten Gillibrand
U.S. Senator, New York

The Honorable Martin Heinrich
U.S. Senator, New Mexico

The Honorable Mazie Hirono
U.S. Senator, Hawaii

The Honorable Tim Kaine
U.S. Senator, Virginia

The Honorable Angus King, Jr.
U.S. Senator, Maine

The Honorable Amy Klobuchar
U.S. Senator, Minnesota

The Honorable Patrick Leahy
U.S. Senator, Vermont

The Honorable Joe Manchin
U.S. Senator, West Virginia

The Honorable Edward Markey
U.S. Senator, Massachusetts

The Honorable Claire McCaskill
U.S. Senator, Missouri

The Honorable Robert Menendez
U.S. Senator, New Jersey

The Honorable Jeff Merkley
U.S. Senator, Oregon

The Honorable Barbara Mikulski
U.S. Senator, Maryland

The Honorable Christopher Murphy
U.S. Senator, Connecticut

The Honorable Patty Murray
U.S. Senator, Washington

The Honorable Bill Nelson
U.S. Senator, Florida

The Honorable Gary Peters
U.S. Senator, Michigan

The Honorable Jack Reed
U.S. Senator, Rhode Island

The Honorable Brian Schatz
U.S. Senator, Hawaii

The Honorable Jeanne Shaheen
U.S. Senator, New Hampshire

The Honorable Debbie Stabenow
U.S. Senator, Michigan

The Honorable Jon Tester
U.S. Senator, Montana

The Honorable Tom Udall
U.S. Senator, New Mexico

The Honorable Mark Warner
U.S. Senator, Virginia

The Honorable Elizabeth Warren
U.S. Senator, Massachusetts

The Honorable Sheldon Whitehouse
U.S. Senator, Rhode Island

The Honorable Ron Wyden
U.S. Senator, Oregon
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