Secretary Salazar Testifies Before Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee today along with Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. The full committee hearing entitled "Moving America Toward a Clean Energy Economy and Reducing Global Warming Pollution: Legislative Tools" comes as the Senate starts to prepare its version of the House’s "American Clean Energy and Security Act 2009."
Topic: Secretary Salazar told the committee that solar energy could one day provide up to 29 percent of America’s electric energy
“We have in the last several months opened up renewable energy permitting offices in places across the southwest and have ushered in what will hopefully be a new era of wind energy production off the Atlantic and the Outer Continental Shelf. We can talk about a lot of statistics relative to the potential of renewable energy from the public lands, but I would just like to point one; just from the southwestern sun, it is our belief that we can produce, just on the pending applications that have been filed with the Bureau of Land Management, that we can produce 29 percent of the nation’s electrical energy needs just from the power of the sun.”
Topic: “The renewable energy revolution I think is something which we have begun,” Secretary Salazar tells Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont and that it will lead to job creation also.
“The renewable energy revolution I think is something which we have begun, with some help from this congress, but under President Obama’s leadership, opening up this new great opportunity for all of us. And just to give you an example, Senator Sanders, in Nevada just ten days or so ago, we announced moving forward with renewable energy applications for solar which we expect we will have some 14 solar power plants that will be under construction by the end of next year 2010, and just those projects alone will create some 50,000 jobs here in the United States of America.”
Senator Sanders: “That’s extraordinary!”
Topic: Secretary Salazar says precipitation patterns and drought are where the effects of climate change are being felt most in the West.
“What is happening is that the snow packs are melting a lot sooner than they used to, which then impacts the capacity of storage that was built under other assumptions, in some cases over a hundred years ago. And so it is an area of major concern among water users and farmers, ranchers, municipalities, industrial users of water from California to Arizona to New Mexico and Colorado. So we’re going to continue to see more of a concern with respect to those precipitation pattern changes.”