Hillary Clinton photo

Speech in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on the Green Building Fund

July 24, 2007

I want to thank Howard, and John Tabor, and everyone associated with Seacoast Media Group. This is a wonderful idea and a beautiful facility for all of us to meet talk about issues. And I am delighted that the candidates have been invited to come and address you and to answer your questions about some of the really significant challenges we face as a country. The seacoast here in New Hampshire is a perfect place for this conversation. You have many different forms of energy within a very short distance from where we are right now: nuclear, coal, oil, wood. You've got people who are working on harnessing the power of the tides. You've got wind. You have some very exciting local initiatives that you've undertaken by towns across New Hampshire. And certainly here in Portsmouth, Mayor, what you've done to make a real commitment to cleaner energy, more energy efficient buildings, and the lead designation that you got for the library. All of that is really demonstrating so strongly how important it is that local communities be a part of the solution.

There's a lot of evidence, as Howard also talked about, that New Hampshire suffers from the failure of the national government to do what we should be doing with respect to energy and global warming. And in very specific terms the impact of pollution, ozone, smog, particulates, mercury that come and deposit themselves on New Hampshire even though they are not produced in this state.

When we talk about what we need to do at the federal level, and what I want to do as president, deal with our twin problems of improving our energy system by becoming more independent, therefore, more secure and more efficient. It is also a way we will approach global warming, which will begin to deal with greenhouse gas emissions. Both of those efforts will have an impact on the quality of the environment and begin to reduce some of the damage that is done by the power plants far away from here that drop acid rain and other kinds of pollutants onto you as it does the Adirondacks and the Hudson River in New York. I've done a lot of work on that. So this is an interrelated issue, and I think it's important that we consider it in that way. Because all too often we talk about energy, we have a kind of stovepipe discussion about that. Then we talk about global warming or climate change and we talk about that. And then I also like to talk about the health impact from the environment because I think that's another issue that has to be related. So what I want to do in 20 minutes or so and then get to your questions is talk a little bit about what I'd like to do to address all these issues. And some of it has to come from the federal government, but some of it has to be this partnership that you are so clearly pursuing at the state and local level. But then we also have to address what we can do as individuals. In our homes, and our businesses, our driving habits, and everything else, because we have to have a united front in order to address energy and global warming and environmental health.

Let me say, about energy: we all know that we are dependent on foreign oil. We know that about a third of our trade deficit comes from the fact that we have an insatiable appetitive for foreign oil. We are using more money than we were before 9/11. And much of the money that we spend importing and using this foreign oil goes to regimes that are unfriendly to many of our (inaudible). So, we have to address our dependence on foreign oil as a security issue. And its not that these regimes are unstable and unfriendly. But there is one area in Saudi Arabia where 1 out of every 12 gallons of gasoline is produced. If there were an accident or an attack on that site, it would throw the global economy into a tailspin. This is an imperative and frankly, we have been unwilling to face up to this for a number of reasons. Among them are the great power of the oil companies and gas companies: the influence they have in Washington. The fact that after the first oil shock in the 1970s when OPEC came into existence and used their powers as a cartel to really squeeze oil supply and raise demand and prices. You know, we all stood in line and waited to get our cars filled up. I can remember that, getting to a gas station at 5 o'clock in the morning, remember, we were all determined to do something about it. And to Jimmy Carter's credit, he did try, he put into effect a number of provisions that were at least aimed at weaning us off foreign oil, make us more energy conscious and efficient. And then the price of gas fell, because remember it can be manipulated; anybody who tells you its just market supply is naive. It can be manipulated and it has been.

The price of gas dropped, so we all go 'oh good, back to low gas prices.' Political pressure's off, we're back to looking for really low gas prices. My late father, we would drive 100 miles to buy gas, in a gas war: you know you have two gas stations one on each side of the street, one would be at 20 cents the other would be at 21. We had that mentality, that's how we grew up that somehow there was an inexhaustible supply that could carry us anywhere we canted in our automobiles. Well, what happened? So, President Reagan came in, totally eliminated all the energy efficiency and conservation and technology research programs that President Carter put in and as citizens, that was fine with us, we were back to cheap gas prices. Now, two places didn't do that. Brazil said 'we don't want to be dependent of foreign oil.' And they began a long-term research project with led to their use of ethanol from sugar cane, which they produce in great quantities. They are e practically independent from imported foreign oil now, because they didn't give up. Political winds blew and changed but they kept on this research project. California did not change their energy conservation laws. They kept stressing energy conservation and in fact, today, in California, the per capita usage of electricity in California has remained constant. Whereas it has gone 50 percent in the rest of the country because we didn't have laws and we didn't have public information campaigns. We can do this. Sometimes, when I talk about getting off of foreign oil and becoming more efficient and conservation minded, somebody who has been brainwashed by the republicans and the oil companies says 'we can't do that, we'll ruin the economy.' Well, the fact is, Brazil did it and California has done and these are just tow things we can do if we are serious about our oil security. When it comes to conservation and energy efficiency, you have a program that we are all familiar with, if you live in cold states like New Hampshire and New York and elsewhere is the weatherization program. Now, it's sending out people to actually weatherize homes, to make them more energy efficient. Out of the weatherization program we've created about 8000 jobs around the country. You can create about 50 jobs in every million dollars you invest in energy efficiency. So, we have 8000 jobs from doing what makes sense: weatherizing peoples homes, helping them save money. Because we know that low income people, people that should be eligible for LIHEAP but do not always get the money because it keeps being cut. One in three forgo medical or dental services for energy reason. They have to pay heat or cool in come parts of the country. And one in four forgo rent or mortgage assistance or they pay forgo for the heat and pay their mortgage instead. So, we know that we can make progress in this area if we are smart about it and create new good jobs. Today I'm announcing another one o my plans, in dealing with this and that is to create a fund called the Green Building Fund: 1 billion dollars a year that will be given in grants to states and localities to help make buildings more efficient and by the way, put 50000 people to work. So we know that we can create millions of jobs if we are smart about how we go about dealing with energy and global warming and the Building Fund would be one example that is very specific about how we would do that. The other parts of my energy security plan would be to create a 50 billion dollar fund. The model for this comes from things we've already done: the Apollo program, the Manhattan Program that we were so good at as Americans. We would see our challenges and would go about meeting them. Well, energy security and global warming are the two greatest technical challenges we confront, just like sending a man to the moon or building an atomic bomb were in the earlier generation. And so what I am proposing is the Strategic Energy Fund that would be funded with 50 billion dollars. Ten billion dollars would come from the oil companies pay royalties on drilling on public land. They have escaped from paying their fair share. Public lands are just that and they need to be paying more. 20 billion would come from removing the tax subsidies that have been increased under the bush administration, remove the tax subsidies from the oil companies, they don't need it they've been making more money than anyone has ever made in the history of the world and that 20 billion will go into these strategic energy fund. The remaining 20 billion would come from a deal that I will offer the oil companies: here's the deal. You all have been hearing how the oil refineries are just all be shutting down. You know, gas is more than 3 dollars a gallon here on the seacoast and every time you turn around, you red about a refinery that had to shut down because it had a mechanical problem or it had some other kind of difficulty. Its just always intriguing to me that refineries shut down in the summer. It doesn't sound like a coincidence to me. And then the oil companies come back and say they don't have enough refinery capacity and the oil companies argue with you when you tell them that you want low sulfur diesel and we want the summer blend of gas and its all too complicated, apparently, for these enormous corporations to figure out. So here's the deal. They can either invest the remaining 20 billion dollars themselves in alternative technology, they can build clean, better refineries that will not break down all the time, they can take steps that will actually put them on the side of helping them to solve both our energy security issue and our global warming issue or we will tax their windfall profits. We will take an average of their profits between 2002 and 20000 whenever we get this passed and we will tae 50 percent above that level. There will be all kinds of crocodile tears and I can hear the guys on cable TV saying I'm going after the oil companies, well, I am going after the oil companies. And with good reason. They are a huge part of the problem we have and they refuse to be a part of the solution. And they have had a friend in the whit house named Dick Cheney who has protected them and helped them to profit so enormously. It is time for them to start contributing to America again.

The third thing is, as we go forward on this, we've got to have federal legislation explicitly to deal with global warming. Because what will be done with the strategic energy fund that I've just said (inaudible). We'll start with the 10 or 20 that we start with and go forward but we need to be putting all the technologies that are possibly out there for us on a very fast track. We need the very best minds in America, get our universities get our private sector laboratories get our government scientists all on the same page. Instead of having a president who will not utter the words global warming, we will have a global warming agenda. And we will also make it clear that as we move forward we want every American to participate, we want the best ideas. It is exciting to me that we could unleash a whole new era of innovation, lets call it Energy 2.0, lets be as creative with this as we were with information technology. It is exactly what I think will help tot spur American's competitiveness and put millions of Americans to work. I have signed on to the most aggressive cap and trade global warming bill that we have. Senator Boxer chairs who the environment committee on which I serve. Senator Sanders, your neighbor from Vermont. Have put forward a plan for an economy wide cap and trade system aimed at lowering greenhouse gas emissions, by 2050, 80 percent below the 1990 level. We will try to get the to 1990 level by 2020. I know these are aggressive targets. But I think that we have to set aggressive targets and set big goals to unleash the genius of the American economy. If you think about the internet, it was really a combination of government research, started in the 1950s after sputnik went up with something called the DARPA, we put billions dollars in, over time, helped to spur the space program, but that is also where the internet started. And people, literally, inventing in their garages and coming up with amazing ideas, being taken to market. So we now have what we see in the world today. The world wide net and all the advances we have. I'm not sure we even know today, what forms of energy we know we could be using in 50 years. That's something I am excited about. That is we really got serious about this, there may be a substitute for the internal combustion engine. You know, yes, right now, we are looking for ways to make it burn more cleanly, we are looking for better sources of fuel from cellulose ethanol and other sources, we're looking at hydrogen. I'm not even sure we know all the possibilities. I want young people to be as excited about pioneering energy and dealing with global warming as 20 30 years ago, people like bill gates were about pioneering the Internet. I also want to accelerate the use of alternative fuels, particularly in transportation. We just passed a senate energy bill a few weeks ago, we did several good things: we raised gas mileage,

Though there are many who wish who wish could've gone further and of course I understand that. But just getting fro 25 to 35 and getting the votes we have in the face of tremendous resistance, was a great step forward. We also did work very hard to increase the potential goal for ethanol. And we raised the ratio. People are starting to raise legitimate concerns about the impact of corn-based ethanol on life styles prices, on food prices, the effects on land. So what we've said is that we want to get to 36 million gallons but we want to reverse so we have 15 from corn ethanol and 21 from what's called cellulose ethanol, which is just about anything that grows to see whether we can get the energy out of the plant and turn it into ethanol that can be mixed with gas. And Dartmouth has done some very interesting work on this, creating a process to extract the sugar energy and the carbohydrate energy out of the plant based material and I'm excited because the first plant that will be built to see if the Dartmouth process works, will be in Rochester, New York.

So we're really going to see a lot of great work being done now with different forms of ethanol. We also need to look at what more we can do to try to encourage efficiency. I mentioned the green building fund. I've also introduced legislation with Senator Kerry, John Kerry, he and I have legislation to require that federal buildings get more efficient. The federal government owns or rents over 500,000 buildings around the country. They spend $5.6 billion heating, cooling, and powering those buildings and the fact is that if the federal government took the lead on making these buildings efficient, they would create a market that would help the all rest of us. Because you know the federal government is out their saying we want to have florescent bulbs, but we'd like them to have a somewhat better color of their light, than the usual florescent lights, can you come up with some new ideas. With a huge buyer like that, it would really move people. So that compact florescent bulbs might have (inaudible) somewhat softer light. And you know the big problem with florescent bulbs is that too many women tried on bathing suites in front of too many mirrors. And we don't like that color light. So you know my husband walks around the house with bags of compact fluorescents putting them in anywhere he can find a place. And we were taking about it the other day and he said the big objection with those is how to make them those have a slightly softer look to them. So that we all look good. And that's sort of the aesthetics of that. So there's a lot of research we could do there, and if the federal government would lead the way, it would move much more quickly.

We also know that right now we could make changes in a lot of our buildings. And I actually teamed up much to everyone's surprise with probably the Congress' leading skeptic on global warming, Jim Inhoffe, the senator from Oklahoma who chaired the environment committee for most of my time in the Senate when I served on the committee. But Senator Inhoffe and I just got passed in the energy bill a provision to tell the federal government to look at how they could power their buildings differently right now. Don't wait. Including looking a geothermal, which in many parts of the country has tremendous possibility. We've done some geothermal work in New York. There's a town Auburn, New York where geothermal is heating and cooling the city hall where their using geothermal in a few other of the facilities. We just want a lot of other different ideas to happen. Solar energy remains an under utilized source of power, particulary electricity. Other countries have moved much more quickly. Germany is getting a lot of their power from solar now. And they're not a tropical climate and yet they have a combination of government incentives and public education programs going on that had moved a lot of people towards photovoltaic cells on their roofs in their construction. We've got to figure out how to incentivize that. One of the problems we face is the resistance to using the tax structure to change behavior because by using the tax structure, you will move people away from fossil fuels, that's where the oil companies and the gas and the coal companies come back in. They don't want us to give a lot of tax incentives. We tried to do that in the energy bill, we got 57 bipartisan votes but we needed 60 under the rules of the senate, so we are going to go back and try again. But the reason we didn't is because if we put more tax money on more solar, more wind, more geothermal it would mean that the oil companies, coal companies, gas companies would obviously start losing market share. So we still have real political challenges here that we are going to try and address. Let me just finish by talking about 2 things that are really near and dear to me that I have worked on since 20012. I'm not new to these issues I care deeply about them and have been involved in them for a long time. The first was something that I understand a lot of your schools are doing and I couldn't find the real brochure so I brought this copy, but back in 2001 I sent out this brochure to every school district in New York and it says 'smart schools save energy.' Because I did a survey about how much money school districts, which are always hard pressed for money in New York and I know here in New Hampshire that most school spend more money on energy than they do on books or computer's. And by simple changes that might cost some front-end money, they would begin to save 25 to 30 percent through better building design, use of renewable energy technology and sensible changes in operation and maintenance. And that was back in 2001 because as a traveled around New York I realized there are a lot of old school buildings, they needed to be weatherized, they needed to be upgraded, with some initial investment, they could save a lot of money of the next 20 to 20 years. The other thing I've done over the last several years is work very hard with Rochester, New York, which, as you just heard is going to be the place of the plant that will use the Dartmouth technology. And I brought in the US green building council and other folks that were interested. And we created a green print for Rochester. We spent a couple of years doing it: bringing everyone to the table, private sector, public sector, outside experts and this report is the result. Looking at how one city could move on all levels at one time. What could be done to make buildings more efficient, to have an outreach campaign to citizens so we would turn off lights when we left the room. We would unplug appliances that would such up energy when they were not working. That we would use compact florescent bulbs that we would try to be more conscious about how we drove, maybe be more efficient in our driving patterns and so much else that we could do on a local personal level as well as a local level through municipal planning. And I am really convinced that we have to move on all these levels at one time. Yes, we cannot be successful if we don't have a president who believes in this mission. I believe in this mission. And I will start be reigniting our international involvement. We cannot sit here, in the united sates and expect to deal with global warming if we do not cooperate with other countries. Getting back into process, you know when president bush took us out of Kyoto, I regretted that but he had an opportunity to start his own process, he didn't want to do Kyoto, do something else. Reach out to India and China they have to be part of this. One of the flaws of the Kyoto process was I don't think people anticipated, even in the early 90s how quickly china and India would grow. China is now growing at 12 percent a year. They are the second highest user of energy but they are now the highest emitter of green house gases in the world. India is not far behind. We have got to get a new international process. The dispute about the science is thankfully over the IPCC finally put that rest last year. So, get that off the table. What is it that we are going to do? What kind of presidential leadership do we have internationally? And then building a coalition here at home to pass the energy legislation to the global warming legislation and lets not forget the environmental health piece of this. And that's the last thing I'm going to say. Every year I have been a senator I have introduced legislation to create an environmental health tracking system. There are really three triggers: genetics, behavior and environment and their interaction.; what we know is that the environment plays a big roll. You know, I represent places in New York City where w25, to 30 percent of the children have serious asthma. It just so happens they live in poor living conditions. They live where there are a lot of bus depots and Taxi depots where lost of cars are running a Spewing out emissions all the time and there is a connection, we know that. And I know, having worked for the last 6 years, on behalf of the victims of 911: firefighters, police officers and others who have been severely affected by what they breathed that day. How anyone could argue that what we breathe does not affect our health, after 911, is just impossible to understand. And we now have people who are dying because of their exposure on 911. So the debate should be over about environmental effects. Clean air is good for us on many levels. But it is especially good for our health; it is especially good for our children's health.

So, I am pleased to be here and excited about talking to you. These issues are critical to our country, our security, our environment, and our employment opportunities to create millions of new jobs. And the United States must lead the way and I will do that when I am elected President.

Hillary Clinton, Speech in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on the Green Building Fund Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/277590

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