Michael BennetMichael BennetSen. Michael Bennet sent this letter to Grist reader Matthew Ott in October, responding to questions about the senator’s stance on climate legislation. Bennet calls the House climate bill, which passed in June, “a significant step in the right direction,” and he sounds generally positive about the Kerry-Boxer climate bill that’s now being considered in the Senate.

Dear Matthew:

Thank you for contacting me regarding comprehensive energy and climate change legislation in the 111th Congress. I appreciate hearing from you.

The nation has come a long way in pursuing a consensus on energy policy and climate change, and it is clear that this is a pivotal moment if we are to make lasting progress. Now is the time for lawmakers to make the difficult decisions on policies that will tackle the rise in greenhouse gases, stimulate the economy, and help lead America to energy independence. Congress and the Obama Administration are both working to curb harmful emissions, and we are closer than ever to implementing policies to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

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The House of Representatives’ passage of H.R.2454 is a significant step in the right direction. The bill includes the implementation of a market-based cap-and-trade program that would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by requiring polluters to trade pollution allowances; a renewable electricity standard (RES), which requires electricity providers to produce 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by the year 2020; significant provisions for energy efficiency in the transportation, home, and commercial sectors; and modernization of our outdated electricity grid. H.R.2454 also contains important provisions for intergovernmental cooperation on climate research, promotes renewable energy technologies such as carbon capture and sequestration, and includes a title that protects U.S. consumers and industry and promotes green jobs during the transition to a clean energy economy.

In the Senate, S.1733, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, introduced by Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts and Senator Barbara Boxer of California, seeks to build upon the progress of the House bill, and includes even greater standards for CO2 reduction. S.1733 has been referred to the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee. For more information on the progress of this bill, I suggest visiting the EPW website at http://epw.senate.gov.

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Climate CitizensTrack the climate debate and take actionI value the input of fellow Coloradans in considering the wide variety of legislation that comes before the Senate each year. Although I am not a member of the Senate EPW Committee, I will keep your concerns in mind as the Senate considers climate change legislation.

For more information about my priorities as a U.S. Senator, I invite you to visit my website at http://bennet.senate.gov/. Again, thank you for contacting me.

Do you know what your senators think about climate legislation?  Ask them, then tell us what you find out.