Last night, President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress on the subject of job creation. While focused mostly on a job-creating agenda, the president reiterated his support for environmental and health protections including “rules that keep our kids from being exposed to mercury” and challenged the country to be in a “race to the top” when it comes to pollution standards. The president also questioned the need for subsidies to Big Oil and announced infrastructure and school investments that could lead to cleaner transportation options and energy efficiency improvements.
Environment America – a federation of state-based environmental advocacy organizations, including Environment Maryland – released a fact sheet earlier today highlighting the accomplishments of clean energy industries.
Sarah Bucci, Federal Field Organizer with Environment Maryland, issued the following statement:
“I am pleased that the president’s speech highlights an important fact: that a healthy economy goes hand in hand with a healthy environment. The president recognized tonight that rolling back key protections for our environment and public health will do nothing to help our economy, and rather will cost Maryland’s families dearly.
“In addition, the jobs agenda the president unveiled provides many opportunities for investing in clean energy and green transportation. Environment Maryland urges the administration and Congress to focus on these technologies to not only clean our air and reduce our oil dependence, but also put our economy on a stable, long-term path to innovation and job creation.
“Under the leadership of President Obama, these investments – in fuel-efficient automobiles, energy efficiency, mass transit and wind and solar power – have already created hundreds of thousands of jobs, cleaned up our air and reduced the threat of climate change.
“For example, with the support of established clean vehicles standards through 2016 and through effective investments, 300 companies across the country are putting Americans to work manufacturing clean and efficient vehicle technologies and are currently employing 150,000 people. President Obama has outlined a new clean vehicle standards proposal for model years 2017 to 2025 that could significantly slash our oil dependence and create about 600,000 new jobs.
“We can still do more. The president’s speech tonight highlighted infrastructure, job creation, rebuilding our schools and reinvesting in our communities. All of these efforts are worthy in their own right, and each has incredible potential to help clean up our air, our water, and save energy. While these efforts were not a major tenet of his speech today, I applaud the president for recommitting himself to a robust clean energy agenda while moving forward with a better, cleaner transportation infrastructure.
“Additionally, Environment Maryland stands with the president against assaults on our fundamental environmental and public health protections, and we call on Congress to join us. We look forward to working with President Obama and his administration as they continue to support clean energy and transportation.”