Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement on House passage of H.R. 2454, The American Clean Energy and Security Act:

“Our nation’s current energy policy is outdated, inefficient and relies far too much on foreign oil. This undermines our national security and leaves us at the mercy of gas and oil prices, which can change dramatically in short periods of time. This is unacceptable, and Americans deserve better. We must establish energy policies that protect consumers, reduce our carbon footprint and free us from the tyranny of foreign oil.

“The dramatic increase in gas prices last summer demonstrated the urgent need to reform our energy policies. The sudden spike in oil prices had a devastating effect on our economy and essentially levied a steep energy tax on Americans at a time when they could least afford it.  

“We must take advantage of this situation to transform our economy and create the jobs needed to compete globally in the future.  We need stronger efficiencies and smarter policies in order to keep our energy prices reasonable.  Our current energy policy is a large tax on Americans in the form of extreme oil costs and it must change. The American Clean Energy and Security Act is far from perfect, but it is a step in the right direction. The bill is a cautious approach, one that strikes a balance between moving our economy away from its dependence on fossil fuels and mitigating the economic impact of this transition.

“This bill will also help to unleash the power of our entrepreneurs to invest in clean energy sources, create jobs, and move us toward energy independence. It will help reduce pollution and keep our energy costs at a reasonable level.  The bill reduces dangerous pollution by limiting emissions from major sources such as electric utilities, oil refineries, and coal fired plants.  The legislation protects and creates jobs now, and bolsters American competitiveness in global energy markets – where countries like China, Germany and Spain are already investing heavily.  

“The cost to consumers of our current energy policy is simply too great to ignore. If we do not increase efficiency and create alternative sources of energy the people of our country will always be at the mercy of the price of oil. Global demand for oil in growing economies like India and China will continue to cause the price of oil to increase. This bill gives us a chance to break this cycle and provide consumers with alternatives that will put us on a path to a better energy future, one where consumers do not have to simply absorb sudden and massive increases in the cost of oil.

“While this bill is a dramatic improvement from our current energy policy, it is not perfect – and it is not finished. In the weeks ahead the Senate will take up its version of the bill and then work together with the House to address the differences between the two versions.  As this process moves forward, I will work closely with my colleagues to ensure we craft the best possible energy policy that addresses the needs of all Americans.”