Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. The first Earth Day in 1970 brought into sharp focus the need to protect our environment and led to the introduction of key Federal legislation such as the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. These bills were critical to addressing many environmental issues in Pennsylvania including abandoned mines, acid mine drainage, power plant and industry emissions, and hazardous waste disposal.
So, as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, let us reflect on the great strides American has made in improving the quality of our air, water, and land. But let’s also take a moment to recognize that the job is not done. The remaining challenges are many. The most daunting of which is climate change. We must move forward with climate and energy legislation that will put us on a path that reduces pollution, ends our unsustainable reliance on foreign energy, and creates new, clean energy jobs. In doing so, we can help ensure that our children and grandchildren will always have a clean environment, a robust economy, and a secure Nation.
You can read a copy of my statement for the record here.
This past Monday, I had the opportunity to see firsthand the positive influence of clean energy jobs in Pennsylvania. Visiting the Exelon-Conergy Solar Energy Center, I toured one of the largest solar electricity generation plants in the country. I am pleased that this company chose to locate in Bucks County, and I am hopeful that more companies will follow this example.
Exelon-Conergy Solar Energy Center, located on a tract of land adjacent to Waste Management's GROWS landfill, can produce enough energy to power 500 homes in Pennsylvania. Clean energy jobs are not a hazy concept of the future -- in Bucks County, and across the Commonwealth, these jobs are already providing paychecks to American workers, re-energizing the manufacturing sector, and transforming the economy. I will continue to support clean energy job creation in the Senate to ensure that many more Pennsylvanians have the same opportunity.
I would like to take a moment and share with you how glad I am that a forum on Clean Energy Jobs in Pennsylvania happened today. This was a great opportunity for different groups to discuss the future of Clean Energy Jobs in our state.
As global climate change legislation is debated in the Senate, I am dedicated to ensuring that Pennsylvania workers are protected while new jobs are being created. In my remarks this morning, I mentioned how exciting it is to be part of a state that is moving towards advancements in technology that allow us to be the frontrunner in Clean Energy Job creation. A June 2009 report from The Pew Charitable Trust ranked Pennsylvania third in the nation for jobs related to clean energy. In 2007, Pennsylvania boasted over 10,000 Clean Energy Jobs and another 25,000 jobs in conservation and pollution mitigation technology. Companies such as Aztec Solar Power, Flabeg, and Gamesa are adding jobs in the solar and wind industries to Pennsylvania and leading the change towards growth in clean energy jobs.
I am steadfastly committed to ensure that we can bring new manufacturing jobs and new technologies to Pennsylvania and end the decades’ old habit of shipping jobs across seas. Through clean energy jobs we can strengthen Pennsylvania’s economy and move towards a “greener” tomorrow. If you would like to hear my comments on this morning’s forum, please view my video message to the Pennsylvania Clean Energy Economy Forum.