Just a few days after President Barack Obama addressed the nation from the Oval Office about the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a new coalition of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and biofuels organizations today called on the Senate to pass comprehensive energy legislation that will create millions of American jobs, boost the U.S. economy, put the U.S. in a stronger position in terms of energy security and help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
"Such a policy would add millions of American jobs and utilize our own domestic, clean, inexhaustible, and rapidly deployable resources," the coalition wrote in a letter delivered to all members of the Senate dated June 16. "Acting now," the coalition writes, "will stimulate construction and operations jobs as well as manufacturing and supply chains, rather than passively losing these jobs to other countries."
Members of the new coalition include the Alliance to Save Energy, the American Wind Energy Association, the Biomass Power Association, Business Council for Sustainable Energy, the Solar Energy Industries Association, the Energy Recovery Council, the Geothermal Energy Association, Growth Energy and the National Hydro Association.
The letter comes in advance of a Senate Democrat caucus on Thursday where energy policy is scheduled to be on the agenda.
On a conference call with reporters on Thursday, coalition members reiterated their position that important programs affecting renewable energy industries, energy efficiency, and biofuels programs are all due to expire this year and that many renewable manufacturers have almost ceased receiving orders because of the uncertainty of a long term policy.
"A series of inconsistent and unstable policies have cost America its leadership in renewable energy and energy efficiency manufacturing and production." "America’s workforce, skills, and market are well suited for global leadership if stable policies are put in place."
Even if the Senate cannot decide on a policy mechanism to put a price on carbon, the coalition called for a national energy policy which makes clean energy a focal point and provides the renewables and energy efficiency sectors with the kind of stable, long term federal support companies say they need to make investments. “We can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good," said Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy.
Denise Bode, president of the American Wind Energy Association emphasized that because of the BP oil spill, the eyes of the world are on the U.S. right now, calling it "a teachable moment."