The fourth annual National Clean Energy Summit teleconference was a scattered and at times a biting preview of the upcoming full-day summit set to take place on August 30 in Las Vegas.
Shaped by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), the teleconference was rife with complaints about Republicans that have according to Reid done little in the way of creating jobs and much in the way of blocking various environmental and energy policies.
“We’ve been held up with everything by the Republicans,” Reid said on the call. He noted though that some of his colleagues across the aisle were trying to forge ahead with energy policy, most notably Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).
He said that when Congress returns in September the focus will be on job creation. The growing renewable energy industry can play a vital role in adding jobs, he said.
We can’t do this with spending alone, there has to be some revenue.
While responding to a question about the high costs of the California high-speed light rail, Reid noted that a changed energy economy–even if it took some major investments up front–would pay off in the long run both in terms of the economy and the country’s foreign policy.
“Our country is so short-sighted,” he said. “Most every other industrialized country in the world has a rail system.” Reid said Nevada is planning to begin construction of its own rail system in 2012, which he hopes can eventually connect with the California rail.
“Millions of people would benefit from what we’re doing here in Nevada. I can give you a lecture about why its so important,” Reid said.
Reid was joined on the call with John Podesta, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress think tank.
Speakers at the August 30 conference will include Vice President Joe Biden, Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, US Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, California Governor Jerry Brown, Washington Governor Christine Gregoire, and MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren.
Photo Caption: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) speaks to the media after a closed door meeting with Senate Democrats and Vice President Joseph Biden, at the U.S. Capitol, on August 1, 2011 in Washington, DC.