This evening I watched PCN's replay of the press conference at noon today featuring (in alphabetical order), Sen. Bob Casey, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Kathleen McGinty, Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-08), and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. The event was to highlight the recently-passed energy package and the federal renewable energy standard. It was held at the Keystone Industrial Port Complex, in Falls Township, Bucks County.
This blog post has some background information from a press release on Rep. Murphy's website, followed by my rough notes of the press conference itself, and a few additional links for further information.
You can read the entire press release, but here are some excerpts:
The KIPC – The Keystone Industrial Port Complex has become one of Pennsylvania ’s premier examples of industrial revitalization. In 2005, approximately 1,300 acres of the KIPC was designated a Keystone Opportunity Improvement Zone by the State of Pennsylvania . These important economic incentives and its strategic location on the Delaware River , the KIPC is extremely attractive to innovative businesses. Companies like Spanish windmill manufacturer Gamesa and solar material manufacturer AE Polysilicon have already moved into the KIPC and created hundreds of jobs.
A little more about the KIPC:
“State hopes to lure foreign firms to old U.S. Steel site,” by John Anastasia Phillyburbs, 9/10/2007
A New Direction for Energy Independence – This ambitious piece of legislation will put us on a path toward energy independence, strengthen our national security, grow our economy and create new jobs. It will also lower energy prices for families and businesses and begin to address global warming.
* Creates an Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Worker Training Program to train a quality workforce for good “green” jobs. A major national investment in renewable energy could create 3 million new-energy jobs.
* Encourages energy efficient homes by authorizing $2.4 billion in residential energy efficiency tax-credit bonds.
* Creates a tax credit for plug-in hybrid vehicles.
* Extends tax credits for renewable energy sources and for energy efficient commercial building.
from Pelosi’s web site on New Direction for Energy Independence
HR 3221 in www.thomas.gov
[blogger's note: I do wish people would reference bill numbers when talking about legislation so I wouldn't have to go look it up.]
The Renewable Energy Standard – Known as the Udall-Platts Amendment – requires electric suppliers, other than governmental entities and rural electric cooperatives, to provide at least some of their electricity from renewable sources. Through a gradually increasing scale, eventually going up to 15% annually by 2020, electric suppliers will have to provide more and more electricity through renewables. This standard will spur innovation and a cleaner environment. It will also create jobs, save consumers money and bolster rural economies.
* This standard will spur investment in homegrown energy resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass. The Udall-Platts Amendment was passed on August 4, 2007 by a vote of 220–190.
* According to studies performed by the Renewable Energy Policy Project and the Union of Concerned Scientists – a renewable energy standard like this could yield millions of dollars in economic activity in Pennsylvania and create thousands of new jobs.
* The initial requirement for producing energy through renewables is in year 2010 at 2.75% of a utility’s electricity.
* The amendment’s definition of renewable energy includes the following: Cellulosic organic materials; wind; hydropower; solar power; gasified animal waste; landfill gas; crop-based liquid fuels; and others.
* The amendment gives credit for existing renewables. In addition, utilities get credit for all actions taken pursuant to a state portfolio standard associated with renewable electric generation.
* Adding efficiency by permitting utilities to meet up to 27% of their targeted requirement through energy efficiency savings (the equivalent of up to 4% of the 15% requirement).
No one mentioned it today but the Platts in the Udall-Platts amendment is Republican Rep. Todd Russell Platts from Pennsylvania's 19th district.
Here is a note from Platts' site.
Platts-Udall from League of Conservation Voters
Rough Notes from Press Conference
[blogger's note: Please keep in mind that I take notes as I watch, often with distractions in the background. This is not a transcript. It is generous to even call them rough notes. The press conference will be replayed on PCN a number of times in the near future; please watch for yourself. Speakers are referred to by their initials. The questions weren't repeated so I just took note of Speaker Pelosi's answers. My apologies in advance for any errors or misconceptions.]
PM Thank you all for coming. What a beautiful day. To start us off we can’t introduce a better leader than Kathleen McGinty. Graduate of a North East Philadelphia high school. Leader on a national level and now back home with Gov. Rendell. No one better to be a leader in energy and green technology than Sec. McGinty.
KMcG; Thank you. If we had any doubt that a clean energy agenda was enormously popular my mother was supposed to be having heart surgery and she is here today instead. Humbling experience to join these leaders on the stage. Patrick Murphy distinguishes all of us in PA with his leadership. Sen. Casey has hit the ground running in DC. Started by bringing clean energy experts together here in PA. And brought home bacon so we can get it done. On a personal note I had the honor and privilege as a staffer for Al Gore, to try to keep up with Rep. Pelosi, always a fighter for our energy. Born in Maryland and lives in California. We invent the technology and then other countries make the technology. We must change that. Clean energy for PA a triple home run, environment, security, economy. Most common reason for missed school – asthma. We need biofuels so our farmers can grow our energy future. Mexico second leading source of our oil. Gamesa and wind energy. Clean environment driving a manufacturing renaissance. Keystone state to bring a more prosperous country. Our promise is in our ability to grow our own energy. Our leaders in DC are helping making that promise a reality. Here is Sen. Casey
BC: Thank you. Sec. McGinty helping PA chart a new course. Honored by Pelosi’s presence and by the new direction for America she is bringing as speaker of the house. Made sure pass legislation on environment, war, and other priorities people expect. Creating jobs and charting a new course. Grateful for Patrick Murphy’s leadership. Mindful of good lessons from past. On the grounds of a facility that helped build middle class. The steel that was finished here, jobs created here. Brand new future, only going to happen if we work together and bring ingenuity and work ethic, work with organized labor. My obligation as a senator is to continue to make sure these issues are on the front burner. Make sure by 2020 at least 15% of energy from renewable sources. Continue to make this a front burner issue. Celebrate and affirm an energy future and a clean environment and jobs. Old false promise that you chose jobs or environment, not one believes who studies these issues. Affirm by votes in 2006 that we can do both.
PM: My wife and I live down the road in Bristol. Blessed with a child 10 months ago. When votes come up we think about how they will affect our children. Look at reasons why we are in Iraq, why we give the Middle East 25 [billion? Million?] dollars a year for oil. Everyone knows we need energy independence. Look at the site where we are today. Used to be a US Steel mill plant with 8,000 jobs. Rendell and KOIP zones. This has become the most successful one. Create jobs and look at what kind of jobs we need. Green collar jobs. Now largest solar field in East Coast, 4th largest in US, Gamesa makes wind turbines we ship all throughout the world, 3 year backlog in orders because of demand, made in Bucks. In the military you lead, follow, or get out of the way. Under Bush we have become far too dependent on foreign oil. Under leadership of Pelosi, McGinty, Casey, we are leading, taking initiative to create jobs. Thousands of jobs created. Only beginning. Look at what we are accomplishing today and what we will do. A month ago PM, Rendell and McGinty here .. [story about the Phillies]. Pelosi millions of dollars for research, this landmark bill will go a long way towards securing our environment, by committing ourselves to energy independence. This legislation wouldn’t have been possible if we did not replace the former speaker. Here is first female speaker of the House.
NP: [Story about grandson and Phillies.] Philadelphia is such a major league city. Thank PA for being such a great state. Today talking about energy. Thank you for such leadership sending Casey to senate, every day he is there he makes us very very proud. I knew his parents and so take personal pride in his success. Katie McGinty whether federal state or local she has been such a tremendous leader. Intellectual resources she has applied to this issue for such a long time. When you sent Patrick Murphy to congress you sent an independent representative from this district. Came as a voice of his generation, a voice of veterans. Because of him we are making history in the congress. Because of him we have passed biggest increase in veterans benefits. Because of PM the debate on war in Iraq has changed. His relentlessness, the knowledge he brings to the issue, the knowledge with which he speaks everyone listens everyone learns. Directly to the subject at hand. A national security issue, energy independence. Doesn’t mean we won’t use foreign oil, will depend on cost and it will be our choice. Salutes steel workers. Heard firsthand the enthusiasm they have to move forward in a progressive way to keep good paying jobs, security issue, environmental issue economic issue, moral issue. Hasn’t given up on the president. Hope to find common ground so he will sign energy bill. Why thanking PA for leading the way. Gov. Rendell has been a national leader on energy, leading by example. McGinty a large part of that leadership. When passing bill without role of PA couldn’t have passed, things already done in PA, PA reps can say we have done it at home. Sir Nicholas Stern has written on this subject, presented scientific and economic data. This is essential. Patrick talked about green jobs. You have wind, solar, and biofuels. America’s energy dollars will go to America’s middle class workers no tot the Middle East. America’s farmers will fuel America’s independence. PA leading the way, ahead of rest of country. Renewable resources a moral issue. We work closely with scientists to show us the effect of global warming, work with labor communities and faith communities. This great earth is god’s beautiful and magnificent creation. Will talk all over the country about what is happening here. Thank you, all of you for making it possible.
PM: Any questions for the Speaker?
Q: Gentleman referencing different aspects of house and senate bill. In one we have renewable energy efficiency standard at 15%, in senate has CAFÉ standards. What we hope to have in conference process is best of both worlds to go forward in process. We started with 20%, some states concerned about meeting that standard, so reduced to 15%, and allowed 4% to count efficiences against number. Thinks they will reach 20. A start. There’s much more that needs to be done. Next steps more controversial so will need best minds to work on it. Made this a flagship issue of Democrats in Congress. Passed with huge bipartisan majority. Also about jobs, environment, security, moral responsibility.
Q: The retired generals tell us we need a strategic vision for Iraq. We must remove ourselves from the civil war there. Some reasons some troops would need to stay there, guard embassy, train Iraqi security forces. What we are saying in the house, listening to generals, listening to American people. What needs to stay in Iraq is a very minimal force. Fighting of Al-Quada, some in Iraq, some out of that country. Much diminished force. Redeployement out of civil war. President proposing 10 year high level commitment of troops, almost in perpetuity like Korea. We need reasonable redeployment. In senate must overcome 60 vote hurdle. Bipartisan majority of senate agrees with house but not 60 vote level. In the House we have decided after last week when senate refused to support Web resolution (same time at home as spent in battle), we knew the signal was senate isn’t doing anything. Will reach out in bipartisan way in house. As far as presidential candidates are concerned -- All wonderful, any one would make a great president, not sure of particulars they are proposing. House proposing redeployment.
Q: Not a question of what we promised we could do. We have changed the direction of the debate. We don’t have the president’s veto pen. There is a backlash because of things not done, but don’t have president’s veto pen. Iraq a great moral issue. Our men and women have performed magnificently. They deserve a better policy than the one forced upon them.
I was not familiar with the works of Nicholas Stern which Speaker Pelosi referenced. Here are a few links if you want further information:
“High costs,” by John Cassidy, The New Yorker 11/13/2006
Wikipedia entry on the Stern Review
Stern Review, executive summary (27 pages, pdf)