Washington, D.C. -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke this morning at the National Clean Energy Project Roundtable, held at the Newseum and hosted by the Center for American Progress Action Fund and chaired by Senate Majority Harry Reid. Other speakers included former President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Congressman Edward Markey, Chairman of the House Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming.
The forum discussed policies and strategies to build a clean energy smart grid and expand the use of domestic alternative fuels. Below are the Speaker's remarks as prepared:
“I would like to thank the Center for American Progress Action Fund for hosting the National Clean Energy Project Roundtable and to thank the chair of this event and one of America's boldest leaders in creating a clean energy future, my friend Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
“In a time that demands bold ideas, this forum brings together some of the most innovative and visionary thinkers in our nation. I come here to thank you for your efforts to tackle the greatest challenges of our time.
“America was founded upon the tradition of bold thinkers ensuring opportunity for future generations. More than 200 years ago, Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury under President Thomas Jefferson, submitted a plan to Congress to develop America's infrastructure.
“As Secretary Gallatin said at the time, his vision of roads and canals to unite our young nation could not ‘be left to individual exertion.' He understood that public capital was needed for the public good.
“And because of his vision, America grew: the Erie Canal, the transcontinental railway, and the national road all are products of Gallatin's plan.
“It is in the tradition of Albert Gallatin that a century later, in 1908, Theodore Roosevelt launched a similar commitment by convening a White House Conference on Conservation to preserve America's natural beauty. That led to the creation of the National Park Service and helped a growing America remain a green America.
“Today again, we stand at a crossroads, with an opportunity to reinvest in America for the next generations.
“This issue is the flagship issue of my Speakership, and when Democrats took control of Congress two years ago, I formed the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, chaired by Ed Markey.
“I am also proud that Congress passed comprehensive energy legislation, signed into law in December 2007, which for the first time in almost 30 years increased fuel efficiency standards.
“We are also hopeful that this year we will be able to pass a renewable electricity standard - President Obama is proposing 25 percent by 2025. We can build a superconducting smart grid that will allow wind or solar power to travel from America's plains or deserts or even rooftops to our cars .
“Last week, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to create and save 3.5 million jobs with new investments in health, education, science, infrastructure, and in clean, efficient American energy.
“The recovery package will also help bring our country's electrical infrastructure into the 21st century. With these investments, we will begin updating our aging transmission networks to make the power grid smarter and greener.
“Mr. Markey and I were just at an energy conference in Italy and modernization of the grid was of the highest interest to the participants. We cannot move to a clean energy economy that relies on renewable and energy efficiency without deeper investments in transmission systems.
“Many states have already begun to adopt innovative policies to move toward more clean, efficient transmission systems. But what we need is a national framework for planning, developing, and financing transmission infrastructure.
“As you may know, the recovery package requires the Department of Energy to do a study on the transmission issues facing renewable energy, which should help guide Congress.
“We have an opportunity to shape this framework as Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman works with his colleagues on legislation to address global warming and promote energy independence.
“We must change the energy marketplace so we can save our country and our planet. We began with the 2007 energy bill, we continued it in the stimulus package, and now we must complete the work. It is a moral, environmental and health, economic, and national security issue.
“You have assembled a distinguished panel of experts to deal with complicated issues surrounding how we connect, transmit, distribute and use the power that provides the engine for our economy.
“I look forward to hearing about the best thinking that comes from your discussions. Together, we can ensure the next generation of innovation, discovery, and growth for America.”