Closing Luncheon: The Global Energy Revolution and Solution
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U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu has called for an industrial revolution on clean energy. Inés Triay, his assistant secretary for environmental management at DOE, noted that the United States has fallen behind several industrialized nations in the development and use of alternative, clean energies. She said that Germany is leading in solar power, Spain in wind power, and Japan provides batteries for hybrid cars around the world and the jobs that go with them. This revolution is critical to our nation, she noted, to increase security, reduce environment threats, and created entire new industries and jobs. She noted that jobs in renewable energy are growing at twice the rate. Combined with energy efficiencies to reduce demand, alternative energy lowers energy bills, putting money back into family budgets and the local economy. The Economic Recovery Act is funneling billions of dollars to grants to increase the supply of energy from clean and renewable sources and help clean energy business get off the ground. The act targets $4.5 billion alone to jumpstart efforts to modernize the nation's electrical grid and develop a new 21st century distribution system.
Triay says that while the big initiatives are important, it will take the concerted efforts of all Americans to achieve energy independence. Much like our efforts to mobilize for World War II, we need to encourage all to do their part. She says that these small single steps don't seem like much, but they allow us to take a big step when we do them together. "We can become the world's leader of clean energy. This is the race of the 21st century. And it's a race we can win."
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, reported that 90 percent of Latinos asked said that energy policy and environmental issues impact the quality of their lives. More importantly, more than 70 percent of Latinos said they are willing to take political action on these issues. Farm workers have the highest exposure to industrial toxins; Latino children have the highest rate of leukemia, and Puerto Ricans have the highest asthma rates in our country. The newly announced fuel efficiency standards of 35.5 mpg for cars will save 1.8 billion barrels of oil, reduce greenhouse gases by 950 metric tons, and save "the average car buyer" more than $3,000 in fuel costs. The EPA is publishing fact sheets and a twitter feed in Spanish to help educate Latinos on the important environmental issues facing their communities. The EPA is also working with their counterparts in Mexico and along the U.S. Mexican border to address these issues. She encouraged Latinos to raise their voices on messages important to their communities.