Sen. Roland Burris sent this letter to Grist reader Kevin Wolz in early October, responding to questions about the senator’s stance on climate legislation. Burris says he supports many aspects of the Kerry-Boxer climate bill introduced in late September, particularly the provisions on nuclear power, agricultural offsets, and clean coal.
Thank you for contacting me to share your views concerning climate change legislation under consideration in Congress, including the recently introduced Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S. 1733).
Today, Illinois stands at a crossroads. We face the choice to avoid the call for change or to take advantage of our abundant natural resources to develop the products, services, and fuels of the future. We must act now to lower carbon emissions and create new green jobs. We must also expand our biofuel industry, invest in energy efficiency measures, and develop new ways of using our resources. This will serve two purposes: to prepare us for the very real threat of climate change, and put Americans to work doing so. As Americans, we inherit great energy abundance, but we must be aware of our responsibility to be environmental stewards for future generations.
I am heartened that Senators Kerry and Boxer have been engaging all stakeholders so far in their efforts to craft legislation to address climate change. I am supportive of many of the provisions in the bill, especially the provisions for nuclear energy, agricultural offsets, and clean coal technology that were limited in the bill passed by the House of Representatives. I hope that efforts to reach consensus with all stakeholders will continue as the bill progresses through the Senate Committee on Environmental and Public Works. I am hopeful the bill will reach the Senate floor before the end of the year. I have been aided greatly by my constituents in efforts to negotiate the best bill for our state, our nation, and the world.
I will continue to listen closely to what you and other Illinoisans have to say about matters before Congress, the concerns of our communities, and the issues facing Illinois and the nation. My job is not about merely supporting or opposing legislation; it is also about bridging the divide that has paralyzed our nation’s politics.
Roland W. Burris
United States Senator