WASHINGTON D.C. - U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) was among a bipartisan group of 13 senators who joined President Obama and Cabinet members today to discuss climate change legislation. The senators met with President Obama, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson.
"My message to President Obama was simple: done right, clean energy legislation can be a jobs bill," Brown said. "But that means a bill that promotes the competiveness of U.S. manufacturing through targeted retooling assistance and border equalization measures. 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.
"When 70 percent of the clean energy components are manufactured outside the U.S., something needs to change. I've talked with manufacturers and workers across Ohio, and I am worried about our long-term manufacturing competiveness. 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.
"That means the establishment of a national manufacturing policy. It means ending Chinese currency manipulation. It means leveling the playing field so that manufacturers in America who are becoming more efficient aren't put out of business from Chinese manufacturers who don't face comparable standards. 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."
Recently described as "Congress' leading proponent of American manufacturing," Brown has been working with his colleagues to ensure that efforts aimed at addressing climate change promote the competitiveness of American manufacturing and provide support to the regions, industries, and consumers that would be affected most by legislation or regulation. Last year, Brown led a group of ten Senators in a letter to President Obama 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 competiveness of U.S. manufacturing.
Last month, Brown joined a group of eight senators in writing to the EPA to express economic and energy security concerns regarding the potential regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources. Following the letter, the EPA agreed to delay regulating greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources such as manufacturing facilities.
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