Senators’ opening statements are almost always fairly predictable, and, save for Sanders’ there were no surprises today. But chair Boxer’s opening statement is reprinted below the fold.
My colleagues: I express to you my deep gratitude that we have gotten to this day with a very strong bi-partisan bill that, by any standard of what is possible, passes the test with flying colors.
For that, I once again thank from the bottom of my heart, Senators Lieberman and Warner.
Their work has been magnificent. They have reached across the aisle, and reached across a great divide, to provide us with a plan for our nation to do its share to avert the disaster that is possible if we do nothing.
The International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), which has been lauded by American leaders from both sides of the aisle, has warned us.
They tell us that not acting with clarity, foresight and strength, will lead to the extinction of as many as 40 percent of God’s species. Our own intelligence and military agencies have warned us that the movement of desperate refugees will be the cause of wars in the future. Our own Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has told us that we will witness waterborne diseases, weather-related deaths and more if we do not act.
Many of our most respected businesses have testified that they are ready. They see the problems, and in the long range interest of humankind and their businesses they want us to act. Others see great opportunities in new investments and technology.
Our leading environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, Environmental Defense, League of Conservation Voters, National Environmental Trust, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, Union of Concerned Scientists, The Wilderness Society and Environment America (formerly US PIRG) have asked us to move the bill forward.
Religious leaders tell us to move this bill forward as well.
My own state of California, which has been such a leader, is urging us to move the bill.
I ask unanimous consent to place all of their letters in the record.
Now all of you who know me, know that I tell it like it is. Now let me tell you … I don’t think this is a perfect bill.
I wrote the perfect bill with Senator Sanders. Frankly even that bill is a bit weak now, given the new information we are getting.
So why am I so strongly in favor of keeping our coalition together to move this very strong bill forward, even though it’s not perfect?
Because, ladies and gentlemen, we are facing a crisis that will hit our children and our grandchildren the hardest if we don’t act aggressively.
Not to act would be wrong, cowardly and irresponsible.
I don’t want my new grandson who is now five months old to look at me in twenty years, or look at my picture in twenty years and say, “What was she thinking? She said she loved me more than she loved herself yet what was she thinking?”
I want him to say that we did the right thing.
Now here’s the really good news. Global warming is one of those issues where the cure is good for us.
New technologies that will get us off foreign oil.
Clean energy that will help our families get away from asthma and other lung diseases.
American jobs for American workers.
In closing, in addition to paying my deepest respect to Senators Warner and Lieberman, I want to thank several colleagues by name:
Senator Barrasso for giving us a quorum when we needed it, and for working with Senator Baucus to write performance standards for sequestration.
Senator Baucus for staying very close to this process every step of the way. I have greatly benefited from his wisdom and his experience in leading this committee.
Senator Carper, who worked hard on a trading system for HFCs; on three pollutants; and on focusing our attention on the need to ensure that allowances reward clean energy.
Senator Clinton, whose voice for consumers, the middle class and the poor was raised at every turn, for advocating strong environmental standards, including the phase-out of free allowances five years earlier.
Senator Lautenberg, for pushing in the subcommittee and the full committee to get coverage for natural gas and stronger look-backs, and for his strong leadership on the earlier phase-out of allowances.
Senator Cardin, for working effectively on transportation issues, which will be so important for our states, and also for the crucial hearing on the Chesapeake Bay.
Senator Klobuchar, who wrote the very first provision in this bill — the carbon registry — and also the Energy Star provision, and who has made this battle so personal on behalf of her state.
Senator Sanders, whose advocacy for renewable energy will go down in American history and whose hearing on green jobs really opened up a lot of minds to the opportunities ahead.
Senator Whitehouse, who worked so hard for the wildlife provisions of this bill, and for transparency and combating fraud.
Those Senators I have not mentioned have been heard as well — very clearly — and we’ll hear them today. Your voices are strong and clear. What makes a democracy a democracy is that differences are aired and heard and then the vote is taken.
Finally, thanks to all the staff on both sides of the aisle. I have become very fond of all of you and I praise your work.
So with that I thank all members for your intense interest, and I call on Senator Inhofe.