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Senator: Clean Energy Law Can Promote Strong Manufacturing Market If Done Right

03/11/2010
An Ohio Senator believes that while clean energy legislation can promote and ignite new jobs, the focus must also be on promoting the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing using targeted retooling assistance and border equalization measures.

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, recently joined a group of 13 fellow lawmakers and met with President Barack Obama and several Cabinet officials to talk about climate change legislation.

Attending the meeting were Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson.

"My message to President Obama was simple: done right, clean energy legislation can be a jobs bill," Brown said. "A great risk of a weak bill is that U.S. industries incur increased costs, and as a result, cheaper products would be imported from abroad. That's unacceptable and won't create jobs or reduce emissions," he said in a statement.

Brown said he's concerned about his state's long-term manufacturing competitiveness.

"We can't trade our dependence on foreign oil for Chinese-made wind turbines. The right investments in domestic manufacturing and energy policy will help rebuild our nation's manufacturing base and create jobs," he said. That, noted Brown, means establishing a manufacturing policy.

"If we do this the wrong way, energy-intensive and trade-exposed industries will ship both their jobs and their carbon emissions overseas. And that would be a loss for the environment and the economy," he said.

Last year, Brown led a group of 10 Senators in writing a letter to White House leaders outlining the need to maintain a level playing field for American manufacturing in any climate change legislation. The senators expressed their support for a border adjustment mechanism and other initiatives that would ensure the future competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing.

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