01.15.14

Whitehouse Launches New Senate Initiative on Climate Change

Washington, DC – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) joined Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) to announce the formation of the Senate Climate Action Task Force – a group of 18 Senators committed to fighting for action on climate change.  The group will complement Senator Whitehouse’s weekly climate speeches and the efforts of the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change that he co-founded with Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA).  The purpose of the Senate Climate Action Task Force is to better organize Senators that have been active on the issue.

“We are tired of waiting and we are ready to fight,” Whitehouse said at a press conference announcing the Task Force.  “The evidence is clear; it’s often actually undeniable.  The science is sound; indeed most of it is certain.  The public, importantly, is with us… And the stakes are very, very high. So we have agreed with one another that we are going to use all the tools at our disposal as Senators: seeking amendments, using floor time, calling groups together, working with corporations, with universities, with the public generally, to raise the profile of climate.”

Whitehouse concluded, “There is a barricade of lies around Congress, and we have made it our joint pledge to break through that barricade of lies and finally do the work that the public demands.” 

Senator Whitehouse is one of the leading proponents for congressional action on climate change.  He has given over 50 weekly speeches on the Senate floor discussing the effects of climate change and the need to limit carbon pollution.  He also released a “discussion draft” of legislation to establish a fee on carbon pollution.  Right now, polluting industries are allowed to pass the costs of their carbon pollution onto American citizens in the form of storm-damaged homes and flooded cities, shifting habitats and migrating diseases, dirty air, and much more.  Whitehouse believes big polluters should be responsible for those costs.

The Senators joining Whitehouse and Boxer on the new Task Force are: Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tom Udall (D-NM), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Al Franken (D-MN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Angus King (I-ME), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Cory Booker (D-NJ).

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