Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
White House Clean Energy Forum
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Good morning everyone.
Thank you all for joining us today.
I want to thank you Nancy (Sutley) for that introduction and for her work and leadership on environmental issues.
It's a pleasure to be here.
For decades it has been clear that the way Americans produce and consume energy is not sustainable.
Our addiction to foreign oil and fossil fuels puts our economy, our national security and our environment at risk.
To take this country in a new direction, the President is working with Congress to pass comprehensive energy and climate legislation to protect our nation from the serious economic and strategic risks associated with our reliance on foreign oil, to create jobs, and to cut down on the carbon pollution that contributes to the destabilizing effects of climate change.
The President has already made great strides toward changing our energy future.
The Recovery Act constituted an unprecedented and historic investment in the clean energy economy.
Investments in the development of renewable energy and clean technologies will lead to the energy sources of the future.
Investments in high speed rail and advanced car batteries will lead to the transportation systems of the future.
Investments in a smart electric grid and energy efficient homes, offices, and appliances will reduce our overall energy consumption as a nation.
And all of these investments will lead to the industries of the future, help put America back in the lead of the global clean energy economy, and create millions of jobs over time.
Demonstrating a commitment to lead by example, President Obama signed an Executive Order in October of last year that sets sustainability goals for Federal agencies and focuses on making improvements in their environmental, energy and economic performance.
As the largest consumer of energy in the U.S. economy, the Federal government can and should lead by example when it comes to creating innovative ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency, conserve water, reduce waste, and use environmentally-responsible products and technologies.
But, we also need your help because all of us have a role to play in a future that harnesses clean and renewable energy.
The nation that harnesses the power of clean, renewable energy will be the nation that leads the 21st century.
The greening of our economy will bring significant changes to the American workplace and will require workers to acquire new and different skills.
At the Department of Labor we are supporting workforce investment activities by retraining dislocated workers, women, veterans, young people, African-Americans, Latinos, and the disabled community.
By providing the training that will turn 20th century blue-collar jobs into secure 21st-century green-collar jobs, we are paving a pathway out of poverty; strengthening urban and rural communities; rebuilding a strong middle class; and protecting the health of our citizens and planet.
American workers must lead this green revolution.
That is why we are investing these dollars here at home in American jobs and American innovation. By making strategic choices now, we will restore our country's role as a global leader in the clean energy industry.
We will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and begin to make America truly energy independent.
That's not just an economic and environmental issue; it's also a national security imperative.
We have a unique and critical opportunity to attack the energy crisis head on and create a comprehensive energy policy that will bolster our economy, end our dependence on foreign oil and reduce the threat of deadly pollution that could devastate our climate.
The path before us is clear, but it will not be easy.
Our goal must be a clean energy future that works for all Americans, so that we can pass on to our children and grandchildren not just a stronger economy but a cleaner planet.
Thank you all for being here today.