With the energy and climate legislation coming to a head in the House this week, things are definitely heating up in Washington. Latest reports are saying that the House will vote on the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) on Friday or Saturday, which means that we're less than 3 days away from the biggest environmental vote in a generation.
While the excitement is building, there is quite a lot of nervousness in the air.
Perhaps in response, President Obama (aka Mr. Cool) just delivered some words of reassurance.
In a speech at the White House, Mr. Obama urged the House to pass this legislation-- legislation America needs to get moving in a new direction, to create jobs, reduce our dependence on oil, and cut carbon pollution which is hurting our climate.
As he said, "The nation that leads in the creation of a clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the 21st century global economy. Now is the time for the United States of America to realize this too."
He went on to say that "Now I urge every member of Congress - Democrats and Republicans - to come together and support this legislation."
And he stated-- in a tone somewhat reminiscent of FDR-- that:
"We cannot be afraid of the future. And we must not be prisoners of the past. We have been talking about this issue for decades. Now is the time to finally act."
This speech comes on the heels of a rally that NRDC helped to organize with labor, business, faith, veterans and others on Capitol Hill yesterday. The rally included representatives from about 15 different organizations and senior House members- including Chairmen Waxman, Chairman Markey, Rep. Van Hollen and Rep. Lujan-all speaking up on the need for strong action on climate and energy.
It was great to see Mr. Waxman and Markey - who are approaching "rock star" status in the environmental community for their leadership and commitment on this issue. (You can see a recap of the live Twitter feed that we did via "Cover It Live"here.) You could definitely feel the growing excitement as we move up toward this historic vote-- as Mr. Markey put it, the most important vote on energy and climate in American history.
As we countdown to the vote, we are seeing a growing coalition of partners in the environment, labor, business, faith and many others, coming together to support this bill. While we remain optimistic that it will pass, it is clear that the vote will be close.
Hopefully, with courageous leadership, backed by srong public support, this will turn out to be a historic moment. Let's hope we can look back on this week and say that our leaders made the right decision to unleash our clean energy future and protect the planet from the impacts of global warming.