RELEASE: Top 10 Energy and Environment Priorities for the Obama Administration and 111th Congress
WASHINGTON, DC—The Bush administration has spent the last eight years bulldozing environmental safeguards while boosting the oil and gas, mining, and coal industries. The federal courts and Congress thwarted many of these assaults, while others are now in place. Under Bush’s watch, global warming pollution increased by 6.6 percent , and oil dependence grew by 10 percent. Bush has a scorched-earth legacy of destruction and neglect.
President Barack Obama committed to jumpstart America’s progress toward a clean energy economy that will also drive economic stimulus, recovery, and growth. During the campaign and transition he advocated for many of the policies listed below. Congress must work with him to adopt these measures that would create jobs, reduce oil dependence, and lower greenhouse gas pollution.
Daniel J. Weiss, Senior Fellow and Director of Climate Strategy, and Alexandra Kougentakis have compiled ten energy and environmental policy recommendations for the Obama Administration. Below are some examples:
Global warming is a real and present danger. The Supreme Court ruled in Massachusetts vs. EPA that the Clean Air Act gives the EPA the authority to require greenhouse gas reductions from power plants and other sources. But first, the EPA has to make an “endangerment finding” that global warming poses a threat to Americans’ health and safety. Despite a recommendation from agency scientists to do so, the Bush administration refused. President Barack Obama should make the endangerment finding and begin to establish controls on greenhouse gases.
Green stimulus and recovery. As the economy continues to tumble, the need for an economic stimulus and recovery package grows. This package should include $100 billion for clean energy programs, including the Weatherization Assistance Program, transit agencies, and energy efficiency in federal buildings. For other programs, see the Center for American Progress’ “How to Spend $350 Billion in the First Year of Stimulus and Recovery.”
The answer is blowing in the wind (and shining in the sun). Twenty-eight states require utilities to produce a proportion of their electricity from the wind, the sun, the earth’s core, and other renewable sources. The new administration should adopt a national renewable electricity standard that requires utilities to generate 25 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025.