May 5, 2011

Whitehouse Brings Together RI Environmental and Energy Leaders for Conference in Washington

Event Featured Appearances by Energy Secretary, EPA Administrator

Washington, DC – Leaders from Rhode Island’s environmental and energy communities yesterday had the opportunity to hear directly from federal leaders about policies and proposals that could affect their businesses and organizations in the Ocean State.  U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse organized the event, which featured discussions with U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, and former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta.

“As Rhode Island business owners and advocates work to put our state at the forefront of the emerging green jobs and clean energy economy, it’s important for them to meet with national leaders and make their voices heard,” said Whitehouse, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.  “I thank all of the Rhode Islanders who travelled to Washington to participate.”

“Senator Whitehouse’s generous hosting of this important conference will be an enormous benefit to the small business community of Rhode Island,” said Douglas H. Jobling, an attendee of the event and Regional Director of the RI Small Business Development Center.  “The RI Small Business Development Center at Johnson & Wales University will take what we learned from the conference and use that information to assist a variety of small businesses to grow and prosper.  We also will be able to take advantage of networking opportunities from the conference to put our client businesses in touch with leaders in the energy and environmental industries to further assist these small businesses.”

“As a second generation small business contractor in RI, I fully support Senator Whitehouse’s efforts to incentivize energy efficiency,” said David Caldwell, another attendee and the Vice President of the North Kingstown contracting company Caldwell and Johnson.  “This event is important because it is one of many forums that the Senator has hosted in seeking to ascertain best practices to recognize the true value of energy efficiency, to develop the best course of action to steer our country into a more energy efficient future, and to lessen the energy cost burdens on consumers.  In my opinion, this is a win-win-win situation, good for the consumer, good for the environment, and good for our national and local economy.”

The day’s agenda featured a panel discussion on building infrastructure for a clean economy; breakout sessions on clean energy, ocean policy, and green building opportunities; and a question and answer session with Senator Whitehouse.  Secretary Chu, Administrator Jackson, and Mr. Podesta each spoke and took questions about the future of national policy regarding these issues, and U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) joined to welcome the group to Washington.

Nearly 100 Rhode Island leaders attended the event.


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