For Immediate Release
Statement of David Moulton, Director of Climate Policy and Conservation Funding on the Waxman-Markey 'American Clean Energy and Security Act'
WASHINGTON - "This legislation-the first comprehensive energy and climate bill ever to be voted on by the U.S. House of Representatives-represents a victory for our planet and for our treasured landscapes. We are grateful for the leadership of Chairmen Waxman and Markey for their persistence, patience and policy expertise in shaping this sweeping new direction for the country. President Obama signaled this new direction in his campaign, but moving it forward in a difficult political environment was a task that many predicted was impossible despite the urgency of doing so. Reps. Waxman and Markey took on this challenge and prevailed in committee, giving the world hope that the United States may begin to reassert leadership on this issue of global magnitude.
"The bill approved by the Senate Energy and Commerce Committee last night will for the first time require polluters to pay for the costs of dumping carbon pollution into the air. It will create a whole new clean energy industry and the businesses and jobs to support it. And it recognizes the crucial importance of safeguarding wildlife and other natural resources from the impacts of climate change and the need for a dedicated funding stream to support this work.
"We are gratified also for the interest and support of Chairman Emeritus John Dingell in ensuring that the legislation includes some funding for natural resource adaptation, and addressing the importance of keeping this funding fully dedicated The need for such resources is growing as the world continues to warm from the last 150 years of fossil-fueled energy emissions and deforestation. This is warming that cannot be prevented because the emissions cannot be retrieved. We must therefore prepare for significant impacts on our land, water sources, and natural ecosystems. Unfortunately billions of dollars will be needed to strengthen, nourish and rebuild coastal marshes, coral and oyster reefs, headwater forests, and wetlands, restore natural floodplains, maintain forest health, and protect and connect grasslands mountain corridors to serve as migratory paths for wildlife. We must continue to press for the additional resources necessary to fund this vital work. We look forward to working with our allies to increase funding levels to ensure that we have the full array of tools needed to safeguard our natural resources from the impacts of climate change.
"We also wish to thank the authors of this bill for standing firm against efforts to remove reasonable safeguards governing the harvesting of biomass from our nation's public lands, and for excluding from such activity Wilderness Areas, Wild and Scenic River corridors, old growth and mature forest stands, and other protected units of our public land conservation system.
"As the American Clean Energy and Security Act proceeds to the House floor, we urge House members to resist any amendments that would weaken this historic legislation. The challenge of global warming demands a strong bill. The Energy and Commerce Committee has shown the leadership that Americans and the rest of the world have been waiting for. It is critical that the full House and the Senate follow the committee's example."
Since 1935, The Wilderness Society has led the conservation movement in wilderness protection, writing and passing the landmark Wilderness Act and winning lasting protection for 107 million acres of Wilderness, including 56 million acres of spectacular lands in Alaska, eight million acres of fragile desert lands in California and millions more throughout the nation.