Senators Discuss Efforts to Protect the Environment on Earth Day

Washington DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid joined Senators Jeff Bingaman, Barbara Boxer, Tom Carper, Maria Cantwell, Frank Lautenberg, and Bernie Sanders on the 38th anniversary of Earth Day to discuss their efforts to protect the environment. For the last seven years, the Bush administration and Republicans in Congress have repeatedly demonstrated that they are more interested in preserving the interests of big oil companies than in preserving our planet for future generations. Democrats remain committed to reducing carbon emissions, investing in renewable energy and decreasing our dependence on oil.

"For the past seven years, the Bush Administration and most Republicans in Congress have consistently shown that they have no vision for a safer and more secure energy and environmental future," Reid said. "It is time for Republicans to join Democrats in taking tangible steps to protect both our nation and our planet."

"The United States used to be widely seen as leading the world on environmental issues," Sanders said. "The world no longer looks to us for that leadership. There are a number of reasons for this, but quite frankly, I believe that the major reason is that we currently have a President who will probably go down in history as the worst environmental President the country has ever seen. In Congress, we have started to make progress. It is absolutely imperative that we as a nation go forward in tackling one of the great environmental crises that faces not only our country, but the entire world."

Said Bingaman: "With the energy efficiency measures and the first increase in automobile fuel efficiency in decades, Congress has begun the process of taking its obligations to the next generations seriously. We have a great deal more to do. We need to pass a renewable electricity standard. We need to cap greenhouse gas emissions. And we need to significantly expand our commitment to research and deployment of new energy technologies that will move us toward a more sustainable low-carbon economy that is less dependent on foreign sources of energy. Our task is to build on our momentum and secure a leadership position for the United States in producing tomorrow's energy technologies."

"A close look at the track record of the Bush Administration's EPA shows they have turned from environmental enforcer to environmental outlaw -- we must reverse this terrible trend," said Boxer, Chair of the Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Said Carper: "As our dependency on foreign oil continues to grow, it is vital that Congress act soon to pass legislation that will begin to reverse our growing dependence on foreign oil, while also reducing harmful emissions into our air. I am proud that we in the Senate recently took the first step to pass an Energy Bill, but there is much more work to be done, and I look forward to being a part of the process."

"For the sake of future generations, we need to make it our daily mission to leave the earth in better shape than we found it," Cantwell said. "How we produce the energy we need is at the heart of many of the key environmental challenges facing our planet, so I'm proud that moving to a clean, more sustainable energy system has become one of Congress' top priorities."

Said Lautenberg: "Global warming is the most serious environmental threat we face. Tackling global warming starts with reducing greenhouse gas emissions and by taking actions like our new energy law to improve the fuel efficiency of cars and make our nation's federal buildings ‘green' and more energy efficient. We need to treat every day like it's Earth Day."

To watch Sen. Sanders in the press conference, click here.