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Alaska Business Leaders Urging Congress to Act on Energy Legislation


The Alaska Business Clean Energy Network, representing dozens of business leaders from across Alaska, is expressing disappointment that the United States Senate has failed to take action on a broad and bold energy policy.

As the U.S. Senate returns to work from its August break, Alaska business leaders are reminding our representatives in Washington that comprehensive energy legislation remains unfinished business.  The Alaska Business Clean Energy Network, in conjunction with businesses from all over the United States, has sent a letter [attached], to Senators Murkowski and Begich urging them to pass energy legislation that would create 21st century jobs and allow America's businesses to successfully compete in the multi-trillion dollar international clean energy economy.

"This summer, American businesses and jobs came in second to political gamesmanship.  As autumn begins, the Senate needs to act on behalf of America," said Joe Geldhof, spokesperson for the Alaska Business Clean Energy Network.  "It's not too late for America to capitalize on the next great economic boom.  The U.S. can lead in the race toward a sustainable, profitable, and stable economic future or we can sit back and become a second rate nation.  Energy is one of the keys to a successful economy.  The choice here is stark -- either move forward towards a clean energy future built on sustainable sources that will never run out or continue to be held hostage by foreign energy providers.  The issue for America is whether we want to adopt clean energy sources produced right here in the United States by American workers with American-made technology or whether we should keep using legacy energy sources that are killing our economy."

"Senate action would level the playing field with fossil fuels and our international clean energy competition," said Zach LaPerriere, a member of the Alaska Business Clean Energy Network.  "Every day we wait, the United States falls further behind the rest of the world in clean energy investment -- and Americans lose out on the jobs that would be created by a strong energy bill."

The House of Representatives acted on broad energy policy more than a year ago. The House passed an historic comprehensive climate and energy bill that would reestablish US leadership in the multi-trillion-dollar clean energy market, while putting Americans back to work and paving the way for a sustainable economic recovery.  While the measure is not perfect, the provisions in the House passed legislation put America on a path towards a path towards a cleaner and sustainable energy future.  The Senate needs to act on energy now.

The Alaska Business Clean Energy Network notes that America is falling behind other countries in clean energy investment.  Since July 22, 2010, when the Senate decided to punt on passing energy before the August recess, the US has fallen more than $11 billion behind other G20 nations.  "The global economy is dynamic," noted Geldhof, who added that: "Our nation's inability to put a price on carbon and set up market-based incentives to start shifting energy use from legacy sources to modern, clean technologies is going to wreck havoc with our economic future.  America already spends in excess of $1 Billion each day for energy, including a sizeable portion used to procure foreign energy.  The country is hemorrhaging funds for energy outside of our borders when we could clearly be producing our own energy needs by employing American workers to work in clean energy jobs.  Doing nothing on energy is a disaster we cannot afford." 

An Ernst and Young study released during the August recess finds that China has now overtaken the United States as the most attractive market for investment in renewable energy. Alaska Business Clean Energy Network business leaders are calling on Congress to reverse that decline.

"Before they again recess to focus on November elections, we need Senators Murkowski and Begich to put the American economy ahead of partisanship and pass comprehensive energy legislation that provides clear market signals for businesses and investors by pricing carbon emissions," said Zach LaPerriere, a business owner in Sitka, Alaska, who noted that his community has shifted energy production to sustainable lake-tap hydro over the last 3 decades.  LaPerriere concluded that:  "Sitka has more to do with energy conservation and shifting to sustainable power but we've come a long way.  Now the nation needs to get on with building a cleaner energy future and that starts by making sure Congress acts."

The Senate's recent failure to act -- or to fail to consider even a stripped-down oil spill liability bill -- continues to have a negative impact on American businesses, inhibiting their ability to innovate and create jobs.  "Alaska, as much or more than any other state in the Union, needs a bold energy policy," said Joe Geldhof, the Alaska Business Clean Energy Network Spokesperson.  "Alaskans have never hesitated to work together to solve big problems and I think we will get this done but we need to act soon.  For 40 years, every President and Senators from both parties have called for action on energy and moving America towards a sustainable energy future.  Our Senators need to stand and deliver on a bold energy policy for the sake of Alaska and the nation."
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