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We caught up with the Senator this week, as Congress is getting back to work, and talked with him about the raging wildfires and climate change, the clean energy economy, the Great American Outdoors Act, and what he’s got on the shelf behind him in his office! Watch the full interview by clicking above. Here are some of the highlights.
On Conservatives and climate change:
“I do think among my Republican colleagues there is a desire right now to find a way to get right on climate and to find a way to talk about the climate crisis that resonates with Conservatives. I think they are really struggling to do that but they are honestly trying to do that. We may have some real progress in the coming weeks, I’m hopeful, on the Kigali Amendment [on phasing out HFCs].”
On the coming clean energy economy:
“We have to recognize that there are global economic changes that are occurring. Even if you don’t believe in climate change, and to me, as an engineer, the writing’s been on the wall about climate change since at least the late 70s if not earlier. But if you don’t believe that you should recognize the economic ramifications of not planning for the economic changes that are coming to the world. We have to start planning for the clean economy and how we are going to provide education and do all of those critical services for our people without relying on fossil fuel revenues to do that.”
“Today you look at solar and wind and you realize they are cheaper than the traditional incumbent sources of energy. I think we have won the generation war for how to decarbonize electricity. Now we need to address storage, seasonal storage, trasportation, industrial processes — and all of those things have solutions today.”
On the Great American Outdoors Act:
“When I came to Congress there was effectively a war on public lands. There was an effort to divest the federal public lands, to sell them off, to develop them and that has really turned around in the last ten years. I’m really proud of the progress that we have made because at a time when clearly the public understands how divided we are in Washington, D.C., this was something that brought Republicans and Democrats together.”
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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a rock-steady vote in favor of environmental protection and sympathetic on issues involving clean water and air.
Why This Matters: There are many challenges to President Trump’s rollbacks of environmental laws that are working their way to the Supreme Court. Once there, the Court can effectively re-write those laws narrowing them considerably by upholding the Trump deregulatory position even if it is contrary to prior interpretations or other plausible interpretations of the statute itself.
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