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Keeping Environment in Mind on Earth Day

[Today is the 40th anniversary of the Earth Day. Rachel Hare of UMD for Clean Energy has sent this guest column on the Earth Day and an upcoming Town Hall meeting with the MD Senator Ben Cardin tomorrow]

It’s easy for America to be green on Earth Day.  It’s easy for us to support energy efficiency, encourage sustainability and demand emissions reductions on Earth Day.  The entire world is watching, and it is exactly what is expected.

But what about the other 364 days of the year?

Can America truly commit to strict environmental standards that will reduce emissions, create green jobs and promote renewable energy?

This Friday, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), will take up this question during a town hall meeting at the University of Maryland, College Park.  During the discussion, hosted by student group UMD for Clean Energy, Cardin is expected to address recent progress of federal climate change legislation that is making its way to the Senate.

The current climate bill is an important piece of environmental legislation that could solidify America’s commitment to a sustainable future and set a precedent for other countries to take further action. It must put in place strong, binding standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote renewable energy and create green jobs.

The current emissions reductions standards enumerated in the bill – 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 – are far too soft.  America also has the capability to develop many potential renewable energy resources, and this should be reflected in a strong Renewable Electricity Standard.

Ambitious standards for emissions reductions and efficiency would make America a leader in emissions reductions and give our country the necessary leverage to pressure other nations to further their own commitments.

As a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, Cardin has demonstrated his support for a strong bill and will have an important role in drafting the Senate bill.

This town hall meeting is an opportunity for us, as constituents, to show our support for a strong climate bill with strict sustainability standards; a climate bill that could work to solidify America’s commitment to innovative energy solutions.

It’s easy to be green on Earth Day, but Earth Day will come and go.  Will America commit to a strong bill that will reduce emissions, create green jobs and promote renewable energy for the other 364 days of the year?

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