Officials urge Congress to discuss climate change


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Originally Posted Online: July 19, 2014, 5:40 pm
Last Updated: July 19, 2014, 7:07 pm
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By Laura Anderson Shaw, landerson@qconline.com

DAVENPORT -- Officials say the president and the Senate are making strides to discuss climate change, but now the ball is in Congress' court.

State Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, chairman of the State Senate Energy Committee; River Bandits owner Dave Heller; Exelon Corporation senior communications manager William Stoermer; State Rep. Pat Verschoore, D-Milan, and a handful of concerned citizens met at Modern Woodmen Park Saturday morning as part of the #ActOnClimate movement, which works to spark action toward climate change.

"We're here today to act (on) climate change," Sen. Jacobs said. President Barack Obama has put forth legislation, which has moved through the U.S. Senate, Sen. Jacobs said, and "we're here simply today calling on the Congress to act on this important legislation."

Sen. Jacobs said items in the legislation would call for a "study (of) the effects of climate change on places like the Mississippi River."

According to a news release from I Will #ActOnClimate, President Obama's plan also includes the first-ever proposed rules and regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon dioxide; strategies to prepare the country for the effects of climate change and curb the effects of extreme weather.

Sen. Jacobs said that after a long winter and a summer that has been more like fall, a study is needed to determine "what's causing this weirdness in our weather."

But Congress has done what it generally does, Sen. Jacobs said. "Nothing."

Mr. Stoermer, of Exelon Corporation, discussed the need for clean and reliable energy to help combat climate change.

A large amount of Illinois' electricity comes from Exelon's 11 nuclear reactors. When it comes time for a study to be done and rules and regulations to be written, he said he wants "to make sure that the utilities and the way that electricity is generated is also a part of that study." This way, companies such as Exelon may continue to provide its customers with "safe, reliable and clean energy that doesn't impact the environment."

Flood waters recently receded from the Modern Woodmen Park area, and Mr. Heller spoke about the challenges flood waters create for keeping the park up and running.

"It's a problem," he said, "and we need to see Congress start doing something about it."

Mr. Heller said the number of Quad-Cities floods have increased significantly over the last 20 to 30 years.

"As extreme weather becomes more common, as extreme cold, extreme snow, and extreme rainfall become commonplace, it's up to Congress to take a look at what's going on and see what can we do to mitigate the problems that these extreme weather conditions are causing," Mr. Heller said.

"Let's just get Congress talking about this issue," he said.

Climate change is an issue that impacts tens of millions of Americans, and hurts families, businesses and communities, Mr. Heller said. "All we're trying to do here is start the conversation."

For more information about the #ActOnClimate movement, visit iwillact.us.




















 



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