Barack ObamaPresident Barack Obama made an Earth Day visit to Newton, Iowa, on Wednesday, where he toured a manufacturing facility that produces towers for wind turbines and touted his climate and energy agenda.

Trinity Structural Towers, housed in a former Maytag appliance factory, employs dozens of former Maytag workers.

“The choice we face is not between saving our environment and saving our economy — it’s a choice between prosperity and decline,” said Obama. “The nation that leads the world in creating new sources of clean energy will be the nation that leads the 21st century global economy.”

Obama also announced that his administration is taking steps to begin leasing tracts of offshore federal land for the development of wind, wave, and ocean-current energy sources. He said the move will “open the door to major investments” in projects on the Outer Continental Shelf.

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He reiterated his call for comprehensive climate and energy legislation from Congress. “The fact is, we place limits on pollutants like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and other harmful emissions. But we haven’t placed any limits on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases,” said Obama. “This is called the carbon loophole.”

Putting a price on carbon and creating green industries should be the legacy of this generation, he said.  “A legacy of vehicles powered by clean, renewable energy traveling past newly opened factories; of burgeoning industries employing millions of Americans in the work of protecting our planet; of an economy exporting the energy of the future instead of importing the energy of the past; of a nation once again leading the world to meet the challenges of our time.”

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