Democrats Want Obama to Grow a Green, Clean Energy Economy

Thursday, Jan 7, 2010  |  Updated 6:18 PM EDT
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Democrats Want Obama to Grow a Green, Clean Energy Economy

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DENVER, Colorado, August 27, 2008 (ENS) - Speaker after speaker at the Democratic National Convention Tuesday called on Americans to elect Barack Obama president because they expect him to build a green economy powered by U.S. renewable energy instead of by foreign oil.

U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton of New York told delegates that she ran for president in part, "To promote a clean energy economy that will create millions of green collar jobs."

"And," Clinton said, "to join with our allies to confront our shared challenges, from poverty and genocide to terrorism and global warming.

"We need to elect Barack Obama because we need a president who understands that America can't compete in a global economy by padding the pockets of energy speculators, while ignoring the workers whose jobs have been shipped overseas. We need a president who understands that we can't solve the problems of global warming by giving windfall profits to the oil companies while ignoring opportunities to invest in new technologies that will build a green economy," Clinton said.

In keynote address to the convention, former Virginia Governor Mark Warner who is now running for a seat in the Senate, said the Republican policies are wrong because they have brought America, "Two wars, a warming planet, an energy policy that says let's borrow money from China to buy oil from countries that don't like us."

"Look at energy," Warner said. "If we actually got ourselves off foreign oil, we can make our country safer. We'll start to solve global warming. And with the right policies, within 24 months, we'll be building 100 mile-per-gallon plug-in hybrid vehicles right here - with American technology and with American workers."

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer of California, who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, told delegates what she said when she accepted the chair from the previous chair, Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, who has famously called global warming a "hoax."

"When I took the gavel from the former chairman, I told him that 'elections have consequences.' When we win in November, we'll prove it," said Boxer.

"Instead of protecting polluters, we'll protect our families. Instead of ignoring the experts, we'll fight global warming. Instead of facing Republican roadblocks, we'll have a Democratic majority large enough to ensure healthy communities," she said.

"Instead of a president with an Exxon policy, we'll have a president with an energy policy. This November, we can't afford more of the same," Boxer said. "Let's elect Barack Obama so that the world's economic and environmental leader will clearly be our nation - the United States of America."

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington told the delegates that voters in her state "know it's time for a president who will make energy independence America's top priority."

"After eight years of skyrocketing gas prices, eight years of families spending more and more of their paychecks at the pump, and eight years of two former oil men catering to big oil's agenda, it's time for a new energy day in America," said Cantwell. "One that makes energy more efficient and renewable, creating millions of high-wage jobs. One that allows families to spend more of their precious dollars raising children, instead of boosting oil company profits."

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer devoted his entire speech to solving America's energy problems by electing Obama, not his Republican opponent.

"We face a great new challenge, a world energy crisis that threatens our economy, our security, our climate and our way of life. And until we address that energy crisis, our problems will only get worse," Schweitzer said.

"For eight long years, the White House has led us in the wrong direction," said Schweitzer, a Democrat who chose a Republican to be his second in command.

"After eight years of a White House waiting hand and foot on big oil, John McCain offers more of the same. At a time of skyrocketing fuel prices, when American families are struggling to keep their gas tanks full, John McCain voted 25 times against renewable and alternative energy. Against clean biofuels. Against solar power. Against wind energy," said the Montana governor.

Schweitzer blamed McCain for taking "more than a million dollars in campaign donations from the oil and gas industry," and for proposing to "give the oil companies another four billion dollars in tax breaks."

"Right now, the United States imports about 70 percent of its oil from overseas. At the same time, billions of dollars that we spend on all that foreign oil seems to end up in the bank accounts of those around the world who are openly hostile to American values and our way of life."

At the same time, he said, "CO2 emissions are increasing global temperatures, sea levels are rising and storms are getting worse."

"Barack Obama knows there's no single platform for energy independence. It's not a question of either wind or clean coal, solar or hydrogen, oil or geothermal. We need them all to create a strong American energy system, a system built on American innovation," Schweitzer.

"In Montana, we're investing in wind farms and we're drilling in the Bakken formation, one of the most promising oil fields in America. We're pursuing coal gasification with carbon sequestration and we're promoting greater energy efficiency in homes and offices," said the govenor.

"Barack Obama understands the most important barrel of oil is the one you don't use," he said.

The Montana governor supports Obama's plan to invest $150 billion over the next 10 years in clean, renewable energy technology. "This will create up to five million new, green jobs and fuel long-term growth and prosperity. Senator Obama's plan will also invest in a modern transmission grid to deliver this new, clean electricity from wind turbines and solar panels to homes, offices and the batteries in America's new plug-in hybrid cars," Schweitzer said.

Iowa Governor Chet Culver told delegates that "securing our energy future" is the most important challenge America faces.

"For the last eight years, the big oil companies and their Washington lobbyists have literally written our national energy policies. They have made billions, while the rest of us are stuck paying the bill," said Culver.

"Now the oil companies are placing their bets on John McCain, bankrolling his campaign, and gambling with our future. McCain has voted against tax credits for renewable energy 11 times, and his only idea to solve our energy crisis is to keep doing what we're doing, as we watch prices go up and up and up."

The Iowa governor said only Obama has a detailed plan to lower energy prices and create more green-collar jobs.

"If anyone still doubts whether renewable energy can lower prices and create jobs, look no further than Iowa," Culver said. "We have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in renewable energy, created more than 100,000 good-paying jobs and provided clean alternatives to overpriced, foreign oil."

U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, who also contested the Democratic nomination for president, told convention delegates that this election is a wake-up call for America.

"Wake up, America. In 2001, the oil companies, the war contractors and the neo-con artists seized the economy and have added four trillion dollars of unproductive spending to the national debt. We now pay four times more for defense, three times more for gasoline and home heating oil and twice what we paid for health care," Kucinich said, "while all the president's oilmen are maneuvering to grab Iraq's oil."

"Wake up, America. We went into Iraq for oil. The oil companies want more. War against Iran will mean $10-a-gallon gasoline. The oil administration wants to drill more, into your wallet," he said.

"Wake up, America. This is not a call for you to take a new direction from right to left. This is call for you to go from down to up," Kucinich said. "Up with creating millions of good paying jobs, rebuilding our bridges, ports and water systems. Up with creating millions of sustainable energy jobs to lower the cost of energy, lower carbon emissions and protect the environment."

And Dave Gipp, a Hunkpapa/Lakota American Indian from the Standing Rock Lakota-Dakota Nation, who serves as president of United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, North Dakota, told delegates that he is one of "thousands of tribal citizens who support Senator Barack Obama for accepting tribal nations and their citizens into the future he sees for America."

"We're not another special interest group trying to claim a share of the American pie," said Gipp. "We are, after all, the first Americans. We paid for our place with land and blood. Our status as sovereign tribal nations is specially recognized in the U.S. Constitution."

"Every step you take across this great nation, every vista you admire, every city you call by its tribal name, was once Indian country," said Gipp.

"American Indians are still here and we're seeking justice for our people," he said. "We offer the strengths of our spirituality and our connection with Mother Earth in renewing America's promise for all."

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2008. All rights reserved.

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