03.25.19

Peters Urges Senate to Pass Commonsense Policies to Address Climate Change in a Way that Benefits Michigan Workers, Families, Great Lakes

In Floor Speech, Senator Expresses Disappointment Senate is Holding Stunt Vote Rather Than Working Together to Confront Climate Change

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) spoke on the Senate floor today urging his colleagues to take bold action to effectively confront climate change. Peters highlighted the immediate need to pass legislation that would effectively tackle climate change in a way that benefits Michigan workers, families, and the Great Lakes. A new report released last week found the Great Lakes are warming more quickly than other parts of the country, posing an urgent threat to Michigan.

“It is an undeniable fact that climate change, caused in large part by humans, is a threat to Michigan, our Great Lakes, our country and our planet. Climate change poses a threat not only to the lands and waters that we all depend on – but also to our health, our economy and even our national security,” Senator Peters said in part during his floor speech. “… I’m disappointed that instead of working together on common sense efforts and treating climate change with the seriousness that it deserves – the Republican Senate Majority Leader has chosen to waste limited floor time on a political stunt…Rather than playing partisan games, it is time to find unity and take bold action. The Senate must come together to pass real concrete policies that will help mitigate climate change and ween us from our dependence on fossil fuels." 

“…Our state and country have been hurt by the lack of a coherent, cohesive and forward-looking policy that grows our economy, while protecting our environment. We need a policy that ensures renewable energy is produced here in America, and done in a way that creates jobs and strengthens our national security…Together we can effectively confront climate change in a way that benefits Michigan workers, families, our Great Lakes and the entire country.”

Click here for video of his remarks and below is the text as prepared for delivery:

“Mr. President: Revolution is deeply embedded in the character of this nation. 

“More than two centuries ago delegates from across the American colonies gathered in Philadelphia to take what was as an audacious action. They risked everything including their life by declaring independence from the greatest and strongest power in the world at that time – the British Empire.

“I am proud to say that my forefather served in George Washington’s army. He was called to risk his life and serve in the Continental Army to fight for an idea – that freedom and liberty would reign in this country.

“As Americans – throughout history – we have been called to service. Sometimes we are called to service by a clear and present danger, such as the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Sometimes we are called to greatness by stretching our imagination, like when we went to the moon. And – sometimes we are called to unity by necessity, because the stakes of inaction are simply too high.

Today, the United States faces such a challenge, and I believe we can once again prove our greatness.

“It is an undeniable fact that climate change, caused in large part by humans, is a threat to Michigan, our Great Lakes, our country and our planet. Climate change poses a threat not only to the lands and waters that we all depend on – but also to our health, our economy and even our national security. It is also undeniable that the United States unified in purpose can meet the challenges and defeat the threats caused by climate change.

“But we need to take action now. Time is simply not on our side.

“Without question taking action involves political risk, but doing nothing is simply not an option.

“The longer we wait – the risks to our planet only grow more challenging and difficult to solve.

“Our planet is showing clear, unequivocal evidence of climate change, according to an overwhelming scientific consensus. Our ice caps are melting, our oceans are warming, severe weather is becoming the new normal and land temperatures are rising.

“Just last week an alarming new report found that the Great Lakes are warming more quickly than other parts of the country. 

“This change will negatively impact fish species, lead to more algal blooms, cause flood damage to communities – homes and business – and irreversibly alter a sensitive ecosystem that provides drinking water for 40 million Americans.

“I represent the Great Lakes state and climate change threatens our economy and our way of life.

Mr. President – I’m disappointed that instead of working together on common sense efforts and treating climate change with the seriousness that it deserves – the Republican Senate Majority Leader has chosen to waste limited floor time on a political stunt.

“What we should be doing is having a thoughtful debate on the need to address a significant threat to our country. Rather than playing partisan games, it is time to find unity and take bold action.

“The Senate must come together to pass real concrete policies that will help mitigate climate change and ween us from our dependence on fossil fuels. 

“I know it’s possible because I’ve worked on bipartisan efforts with my colleagues to advance clean energy and lower greenhouse gas emissions. 

“Together we have advanced technology innovation, fueled our nation’s transportation with cleaner energy, bolstered our nation’s infrastructure to be more resilient to climate impacts, offered incentives for carbon capture sequestration and boosted energy efficiency. These are all accomplishments that we have done together – but more needs to be done.

“This Congress, as we consider a surface transportation reauthorization package – as well as a new Water Resources Development Act – it would be foolish to ignore climate impacts as we spend taxpayer dollars for infrastructure.

“We must seize the opportunity presented by a clean energy economy to continue driving American innovation while creating sustainable good-paying jobs.

“Today our auto industry in Michigan is rapidly working to advance electrification.

Just last week General Motors announced plans to add 400 jobs and invest $300 million to build a new electric car at their Orion plant.

“But despite these efforts our state and country have been hurt by the lack of a coherent, cohesive and forward-looking policy that grows our economy, while protecting our environment.

“We need a policy that ensures renewable energy is produced here in America, and done in a way that creates jobs and strengthens our national security.

“I know we can do that if only we can find the political will.

“Together we can effectively confront climate change in a way that benefits Michigan workers, families, our Great Lakes and the entire country.

“The science is clear, but time is not on our side.  We must take action now to confront climate change before it is too late.

“I urge my colleagues to stop playing political games – let’s roll up our sleeves – and get to work on solving the climate change crisis together.”

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