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Liberal groups push for energy reform

From NBC's Jade Taenzler
In a conference call today, a hodgepodge of liberal-leaning groups said they were urging members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to support President Obama's new energy plans, which they said would create jobs and help make America more secure.

These groups -- like SEIU, League of Conservation Voters, MoveOn, VoteVets, Center for American Progress Action Fund, the Blue Green Alliance, and the Environmental Defense Fund -- also said they were releasing new national and local ads today. "America must end our economic crisis and dependence on foreign oil," the national ad goes. "Make our energy clean. Make it in America."

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"America needs to stay competitive in the 21st century," Ilyse Hogue from MoveOn.org said in the conference call. While "jump-starting" the U.S. economy through investments in renewable energy technologies, "we have to move out of the failed policies of the past."

"The recovery of this recession has to be a fundamental transformation of the economy from the fossil-fuel generation into the clean-energy generation," added Dave Foster from the Blue Green Alliance. "It is not just creating jobs for obscure, strange green technologies. Recovery, in fact, is all about reinvigorating the jobs that people already have."

Jennifer Palmieri from the Center for American Progress Action Fund also chimed in: "Four times as many jobs are created by investing in clean technology jobs than supposed to when you invest in jobs in the oil industry."

Meanwhile, Phil Angelides of the Apollo Alliance (and a former Democratic candidate for California governor) said "converting the U.S. to a green economy" is a "matter of national security." Compared with other nations' efforts to invest in renewable energy resources, "America has been the lagger, not the leader."

Angelides added, "The majority of clean energy technologies are manufactured overseas. If we make the component parts of the new energy economy here in the U.S., we will never be dependant on foreign nations again."

Former Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark agreed, saying that the U.S. has to "move away from energy reliance and an energy source we have to import." Clark therefore called supporting the American Clean Energy and Security Act a "no-brainer."