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April 22 - On the Senate floor Thursday, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin
(D-IL) marked Earth Day by pointing to the challenge of climate change. He said
that next Monday, Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Jeff
Bingaman (D-NM), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) plan to
introduce their climate bill. Durbin explained that the bipartisan bill is
“certainly consistent with the goals of Earth Day and our national goals:”
- “First, to reduce our
dependence on foreign oil, to encourage domestic energy sources that are
renewable and sustainable.
- “Second, to create jobs which
is our highest priority in this Congress with the recession that we face.
- “The third thing, of course,
is that we want to do something about pollution, carbon emissions, the
impact that they have on our lungs and on our atmosphere.”
called the three goals “ an ambitious agenda because it engages the entire
American economy.” But he warned that if the U.S. fails to achieve these goals,
“we are going to fall behind in the development of industries that have great
called on his Senate colleagues to join in pursuing “clean energy alternatives,
reducing our dependence on foreign oil, creating good paying jobs in industries
with a future and in the process doing the right thing for Mother Earth.” He
said “I've often spent my Earth Day back in Illinois downstate with farmers. I can't
think of any people in America
closer to Mother Nature every single day of their lives and most of them are
not all that comfortable with the so-called environmentalists.” He said farmers
generally consider environmentalists too theoretical, “not grounded in the
reality that farmers face.” But he added that farmers “come up with some common-sense
approaches whether we're talking about soil or water conservation, the
reduction of the use of chemicals on the land, all of these things are consistent
with both environmental goals and profitable farming. So I look at our stewards
of the agricultural scene in America
as part of our environmental community that could play a critical role in
charting our course in making policies for the future.”
Tom Harkin also focused his Earth Day remarks on farmers and climate change.
Despite substantial progress since the first Earth Day in 1970, Harkin said
that “we still face significant environmental challenges in agriculture and
industry, in cities, towns and rural areas.
For example, crop nutrients and pesticides we use in farming or on our
lawns and gardens, along with wastewater discharges or smokestack emissions
continue to require our attention.
Farmers in Iowa
are continuing to improve their conservation and environmental efforts - such
as proven resource protection practices like buffer strips along streams, crop
and manure management and grass and tree planting - and I successfully led a
strong push in the two most recent farm bills to provide much stronger
assistance for farmers who adopt and maintain good conservation practices.”
climate change “a monumental, international challenge,” Harkin said that he
hopes the Senate will pass climate legislation soon.
Mark Udall (D-CO) commented that “Earth Day offers us the opportunity to renew
our efforts to preserve our environment and fight global climate change.” He
focused his remarks on jobs: “As we work to help Colorado
and the United States
recover from the current economic downturn, green jobs can provide a valuable
source of growth. . . In recent years, renewable energy, natural gas, and other
related industries have brought thousands of jobs to our state. Earth Day
allows us to note the considerable benefits these industries have brought Colorado and focus upon
the work we are doing to make greater gains in the future.”
more congressional Earth Day comments, go to: www.agri-pulse.com/20100422H2.asp.
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