Washington, DC - Congressman Tom Lantos (D-San Mateo/San Francisco), chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, joined other committee chairmen and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to declare today “Energy Independence Day” and to announce a comprehensive plan to wean the United States away from foreign energy sources.  

The legislative package, to be taken up by the House after the July 4th holiday, will break America’s dangerous dependence on foreign oil, promote new sources of alternative energy and create new “green-collar” jobs in cutting-edge industries focused on saving the environment.

“Today we have a new declaration of independence,” Lantos said. “We will no longer rely on unstable and dictatorial states to help us meet our energy needs. We will wrench the politics of oil from its current entanglement in U.S. foreign policy.  Today we take a purposeful step towards a future in which this country can create and sustain its own supply of clean, safe alternative energy.”

“I deeply appreciate Speaker Pelosi’s dedication to this most urgent issue, and her efforts to bring it to the front of our agenda,” Lantos said. “Her leadership brought together every committee of jurisdiction and all of the House leadership and produced an outstanding plan.”

Lantos is the author of the international portion of the new energy package. His International Climate Cooperation Re-engagement Act (H.R. 2420) emphasizes the global consensus that the concentration of greenhouse gasses in the earth’s atmosphere must be reduced through a coordinated international response. It mandates serious U.S. re-engagement in the effort to reach a global agreement that requires binding emissions mitigation commitments from all the major emitters, including China, India, and Brazil. Additionally, the bill advances energy export policy and assistance programs that will promote clean-energy production in even the poorest countries.  The legislation was approved by a bipartisan majority of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in May.

“This bill marks a critical turning point in American engagement with the international community on a crucial environmental issue,” Lantos said. “We will finally act to curtail global warming in a far-reaching and significant way. The time for debate and endless delay is over.”