Another Republican failure of leadership on renewable energy and climate change happened yesterday in the U.S. Senate. The “drill first and ask questions later” policy of Big Oil and Republicans has not served citizens paying at the pump and won’t in the future. We need to think bigger. What’s wrong with investing some of those wind-fall profits into renewable energy? Energy independence and a cleaner environment sound like things we should be trying to achieve.
In Washington state, we are confronting the challenge of climate change. This is not our choice – it is our responsibility. The debate is over. We must take action to preserve our planet for future generations.
Washington state is fortunate to have the capacity for carbon-neutral power generation. Hydropower accounts for more than 70 percent of our electricity and we are also one of the nation’s leaders in the generation of wind energy. Because we are less reliant on coal power, about 50 percent of our state’s global warming pollution comes from the transportation sector. Fighting global warming in Washington means addressing how we get around.
As a state, we are already making progress. We are shifting our state motor pool over to hybrids and flex fuel vehicles. Our state’s hybrid vehicle fleet is the third best in the country, with 690 hybrids out of 1800 vehicles. When you add flex fuel vehicles, we are tops in the country. That has saved the state about 100,000 gallons of fuel in the past year alone. Not only is this good for our environment, but it also saves taxpayers’ dollars.
Those savings can be reinvested in research and development for new technologies, like we are doing at our universities. My goal is to make Washington a top exporter in clean, green technology.
For two generations, Washington’s entrepreneurs in the aerospace and software industries have introduced cutting edge technologies that have changed the world. Now we can add automobiles to the list.
Last week, I had the opportunity to ride in a 150mpg plug-in hybrid SUV. The company is based in Bellevue, Washington and is demonstrating their technology for auto manufacturers. The vehicle can run at highway speeds without an ounce of gasoline for the first 40 miles. That’s right, 40 miles on electricity. With a vehicle like this, many people could commute each day and never have to go to the pump.
This technology demonstrates the true spirit of innovation found in Washington – commitment to business and the environment.
My Republican opponent’s environmental record shows his commitment to fighting climate change is simply political lip service. John McCain came to our state touting the need to fight global warming, but George Bush Republicans like my opponent and those in the U.S. Senate killed the climate change bill and killed a bill today to make Big Oil invest in renewable energy.
While fighting climate change should be a nonpartisan issue, Republicans in Washington have shown us that if we really want to fight climate change, we need to elect Democrats in November.
We are a nation of innovators, and we are in a crisis. I am confident that with a Democratic partner in the other Washington, we can work together to develop the next generation of clean technology and put policies in place that will move us to a greener tomorrow.