WATCH: Senate Climate Change Task Force Discusses Energy Independence through a Clean Energy Transition
Washington (March 29, 2022) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) chaired a Senate Climate Change Task Force meeting today, alongside Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) to discuss the importance of the United States becoming energy independent through a clean energy transition.
“Real energy independence is about freedom. It’s about freedom from a volatile globalized oil commodity, from high gas prices, and from pollution, dirty air, and dirty water—especially within Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities, which bear the heaviest burden of pollution,” said Senator Markey during his opening remarks at the Task Force meeting. “An energy freedom strategy that stops funding wars and starts protecting our health and our pocketbooks is the real energy independence strategy. And this is the only acceptable energy strategy for the American people.”
During the task force meeting, Senator Markey laid out a plan for 500 days to energy independence in three essential steps:
1. Ban All Oil Imports from Russia: Last month, President Biden took the important step of banning Russian energy imports. To build on this smart decision, Congress should pass Senator Markey’s SPIGOT Act – co-sponsored by Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and led in the House by Representatives Ro Khanna (CA-17) and Nancy Mace (SC-01) – to make the ban on the importation of Russian oil and petroleum products into the United States permanent, while taking steps to prioritize carbon-free energy as an alternative to Russian fuel and take down Putin’s oil oligarchs by investigating the links between Russian oil and human rights abuses.
2. Protect Consumers at the Pump and Transition to a Clean Energy Future: Senator Markey’s SAVE Consumers Act – also co-sponsored by Senator Heinrich – will provide consumers short-term relief by releasing an equivalent to 500 days of Russian oil imports from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The SAVE Consumers Act, coupled with Senator Markey’s call for the President to invoke the Defense Production Act to support the production of clean energy and energy-efficient electric technologies, can back out all of the oil the United States currently imports from Russia long-term and put the United States and our allies on a pathway to a clean, affordable, and secure future. By putting 5 million new electric vehicles on the road, replacing 5.5 million oil heaters with energy efficient heat pumps, and deploying 500,000 new clean school and public transit buses, the United States can cut its demand for oil, create true energy independence, protect the climate, and save consumers money.
3. Pass Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency, and Climate Justice Measures: Critical climate justice and clean energy provisions – already widely supported by Democrats in Congress – include a Civilian Climate Corps to train a new generation of workers on climate action and clean energy; tax credits and rebates for renewable energy, electric vehicles, heating and cooling devices, and domestic clean energy manufacturing to create good-paying American jobs; national climate bank funding to provide communities with access to capital to fund projects to cut dangerous emissions; and environmental justice investments to bring clean air, clean water, and clean energy to the most disadvantaged communities.
If Congress acts on these three essential steps, the United States can permanently end its reliance on Russian energy—while powering the economy with cheaper, cleaner energy—within 500 days. These steps will also put the United States on a path to fully transition to greener, cheaper energy within 10 years.
A one-pager of Senator Markey’s proposed plan can be found HERE.