The students and community members at the event thanked Congresswoman McCollum for her leadership on environmental issues in the House.
“It is critical that we have strong champions like Congresswoman McCollum speaking up for us in Washington D.C.,” said Michelle Hesterberg, who is a constituent of McCollum’s in St. Paul and a Field Associate with Environment Minnesota. “We need to make sure we support the great work that Congresswoman McCollum is doing to keep our water clean, our air safe to breathe, and to move our country towards a clean energy economy.”
Environmental measures currently face significant political opposition in the U.S. House. Last year, the House voted 191 times to erode critical environmental protections like the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, according to a report authored last December by members of the U.S. House’s Energy and Commerce Committee. That amounts to one out of every five votes cast on the House floor in 2011.
Though 2011 was a troubling year for the environment in the U.S. House, McCollum was not hesitant about laying out her vision for how to move forward to protect Minnesota’s environment.
“Investments in clean energy are the path to creating good jobs here in our community. This benefits our topline – the leaders in this sector AND our bottom line by spurring our economy and our ability to provide for ourselves and our families,” McCollum said.
Students and community members at the event agreed with McCollum that it is time that we move forward with clean energy solutions to safeguard public health and protect our environment.
“Congress must start thinking about what’s best for this county instead of what’s best for big polluters,” said Nick Matzke, Macalester student and MPIRG’s Environmental Task Force Leader at Macalester. “Congress is making decisions today about our future and our children’s future. We are going to have to live with the polluted environment they leave us, and it’s time they start listening to us instead of BP and Exxon Mobil.”
But moving forward with clean energy solutions in the current U.S. House looks unlikely. This year, House Republican leaders have continued their assault on the environment. Earlier this month, for example, the House proposed eliminating all federal funding for public transit while opening our coasts and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.
“When it comes to the environment, this House is taking us down a dead end road to pollute our air, threaten our climate, endanger our country’s treasured spaces, and grant oil corporations’ every wish,” Hesterberg stated. “America needs a smarter, cleaner energy future. It’s time for us to transition from dirty, polluting energy sources that threaten our health to cleaner, smarter energy sources that keep our water clean and our air safe to breathe.”