Salazar again urges climate action in Senate | AspenTimes.com

Salazar again urges climate action in Senate

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, left, talks to employee Jack Bureau during a tour of the Abound Solar manufacturing plant in Longmont, Colo., on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2009. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

LONGMONT, Colo. – Standing inside a solar energy plant, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar vowed Tuesday that the health care debate in Washington won’t slow progress on a sweeping climate change bill.

“The president says we’re going to do it. We’re going to get it done,” said Salazar, who testifies Thursday before a Senate committee taking up an administration-backed bill to tackle climate change.

The bill, which narrowly passed the House earlier this summer, imposes the first limits on greenhouse gases. It eventually would lead to an 80 percent reduction by putting a price on each ton of climate-altering pollution.

However, the Democrat-controlled House approved the bill by a slim margin, and Senate Democrats say changes will be necessary to clear that chamber.

Administration energy officials are trying to keep the climate bill in the public’s mind. After touring a solar power plant in his home state of Colorado, Salazar told several dozen plant employees that President Barack Obama considers climate change “a significant priority of our time.”

Salazar joins other administration officials expected to press the bill Thursday before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

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Salazar didn’t say exactly what administration officials want to see kept or changed in the House bill. But the former Democratic senator said the president “is 100 percent committed to getting this done.”

The Abound Solar plant about 35 miles north of Denver makes about a million commercial-strength solar panels a year. Before touring Abound, Salazar visited solar power scientists at the National Renewable Energy Lab in suburban Golden.

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