On June 26th, 2009, the House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) — a landmark victory for our planet and climate activists! Last Friday’s vote marks a critical first step in addressing sea-level rise by reducing global warming pollution, investing in clean energy technology, reducing our dependence on foreign oil and creating green jobs.Yet, while the bill was passed out of the House by a very slim 219-212 vote, we are disappointed in the Louisiana and Alabama Congressional Delegations. Not one Representative from either State voted for this sweeping climate change bill. Because of rising sea-levels and more intense storms, the entire Gulf Coast region will always remain ground-zero for the impacts of climate change. It should follow that our elected representatives would put the interests of our coast and communities before those of polluting industries that have already done so much damage to our natural hurricane protection system. Well, our leadership in Washington will get another chance to get it right.With the passage of ACES in the House, the fight for clean energy now advances to the United States Senate. As was demonstrated over the last few months in the House Energy and Commerce Committee and throughout the halls of Congress, proponents of clean energy and green jobs will face equal, if not stronger opposition on the Senate side from polluting industries such as Coal, Oil and Gas who have spent over 90 million dollars so far this year trying desperately to hang on to the status quo.In Louisiana, over the coming weeks and months the Gulf Restoration Network will be working with 1Sky, our allies, businesses, and volunteers across the State to send Senators Landrieu and Vitter a powerful message that now is the time for action. Our work is just beginning since it is going to be a real challenge to convince our Senators to break with the powerful polluting industries and stand up for what is right for our future generations and our coast. The vote for the American Clean Energy and Security Act on the House floor came down to a hair-splitting margin of a mere seven votes. In the Senate, that margin could be even smaller. So, when you get that action alert in your email box, and you want cleaner air and a sustainable hurricane protection system, please be sure to take action.So, what do we like about this legislation as it heads to the Senate? The bill as it now stands includes significant quantities of new funding and establishes several new state and federal programs that aim to increase renewable energy deployment and ease worker and industry transition towards lowered energy intensity and greater efficiency. Natural resource conservation and the inclusion of minorities and marginalized groups have been given stronger presence throughout the bill, and much foresight has been demonstrated in protecting climate change related health care and adaptation funding for future decades.Despite the strengthening amendments secured by Chairman Waxman, it is by no means all pie in the sky. There are some proposed weakening amendments to the bill exacted by agricultural interests in exchange for a large block of votes on the House floor, including widening loopholes for fossil fuels, shifting offset jurisdiction to the USDA from the EPA, and revoked authority to address important sources of greenhouse gas emissions.There’s no argument that the ACES legislation is in no way perfect. It has been weakened in many ways over the last few weeks and still has a long way to go before President Obama has a chance to sign it into law. Yet, the vote that the House took last Friday truly is the biggest step forward that our country has ever taken to address the most serious environmental issue of our time. To get this bill to the President’s desk, it will take all of the support that we can get from anyone who is concerned about sea-level rise and climate change. Something simple like writing a letter to the editor of your local paper, making a phone call to your Senator’s office, or sending faxes or emails will help us in this epic battle for our planet. For more information and resources to get involved, please visit Henderson is the Louisiana Global Warming Organizer for GRN and our partner on this effort, the 1Sky Campaign. For more information, please contact Jonathan Henderson at

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