In the four decades since the first Earth Day in 1970, we have made remarkable progress in the fight to protect our planet. Today, our air and water are cleaner, pollution has been greatly reduced, and Americans everywhere are living in a healthier environment. We've passed the Clean Air Act,
the Clean Water Act, and founded the Environmental Protection Agency.
The most critical moment for environmental protection is the one we face today. Our reliance on foreign fossil fuels has set us on a massively destabilizing path, threatening our national security, our environment, and our economy. Very simply, the country that harnesses the power of clean, renewable energy will be the nation that leads in the 21st century.
Congress has taken on the challenge of energy independence from many
angles. The Recovery Act, Clean Energy and Security Act, and other legislation are all working together
to improve our national security, create jobs, and protect the environment.
The Recovery Act included
more than $80 billion in clean energy investments, such as building a bigger, smarter electricity grid
and providing incentives for expanding manufacturing capacity for clean energy technology, and advancing
vehicle and fuel technologies. In fact, the wind industry grew its capacity nearly 40 percent in 2009,
blowing past expectations that existed prior to the passage of the Recovery Act. The American Clean Energy and Security Act took a powerful and historic step toward a wholly new approach to energy in our country. Once signed into law, its reforms will help create 1.7 million clean energy jobs, finally
end our nation's dangerous addiction to foreign oil, and begin to curb the harmful effects of climate
On this 40th anniversary of Earth Day, I take great pride in the steps we have taken to help protect our natural resources, especially those right here in Connecticut. For example, this past
year, we increased funding for the Long Island Sound Stewardship Act to $15 million, up from $3 million
previously. Additionally, the sweeping and significant Public Land Management Act signed into law by
the president in March will strengthen our National Parks, improve the health of our forests, ensure
better management of our public lands, and increase the quantity and quality of water provided to numerous
local communities. These are significant victories for the cause of environmental protection.
But much work remains. As we take this day to consider how best we can protect the planet we call home,
be assured that I will continue to work diligently on these measures and on any other which will help
ensure the beauty and stability of our environment.