Bernie Sanders Campaigns Against Fossil Fuel Industry During Denver Rally
During a rally in front of thousands, Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders spoke out against the fossil fuel industry and reiterated his support for “aggressive” and “far reaching” climate change proposals in Denver this week.
“We are tired of the fossil fuel industry putting their short-term profits ahead of the safety and health of the entire planet,” Sanders told the crowd gathered in Civic Center Park. The group responded enthusiastically with chants of “Green New Deal.”
Sen. Sanders (D-Vt.) is one of the main sponsors of the Green New Deal legislation in the Senate.
“I am extremely proud to tell you that I have recently introduced a proposal which is the most aggressive and far-reaching climate change proposal ever introduced by any presidential candidate. I am told by my opponents, and I’m told by people who represent the fossil fuel industry that our proposal is expensive. And you know what? It is expensive. But what is the alternative? We will not and we cannot sit back and allow this planet to be destroyed,” Sanders said.
On Sanders’ official campaign website, he lists several policy goals which include “Reaching 100 percent renewable energy for electricity and transportation by no later than 2030 and complete decarbonization by 2050 at latest,” “Ending unemployment by creating 20 million jobs,” and Directly invest[ing] an historic $16.3 trillion public investment” toward the efforts.
Sanders says the plan will pay for itself over 15 years through “Making the fossil fuel industry pay for their pollution, through litigation, fees, and taxes, and eliminating federal fossil fuel subsidies” as well as new income taxes generated from the new jobs created, scaling back military spending and having the wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share.
In an interview with Colorado Public Radio (CPR), Sanders said that under his plan, the U.S. electricity and transportation sectors will become carbon neutral by 2030, with the entire economy becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
When CPR asked about the potential economic fallout from the winding down of a major sector of the global economy, Sanders said that he stands for provisions of employment transition support for workers.
“If you read our bill, you’ll find out that we spend billions of dollars for what we call a just transition. Oil workers and coal miners are not my enemy. I have perhaps the strongest pro-worker record in the United States Congress. What my enemy is are not the working people in the fossil fuel industry. My enemy is climate change,” Sanders said.
Colorado State Rep. Emily Sirota (D) addressed the crowd ahead of Sanders taking the stage reiterating her support of Green New Deal legislation.
“To all the oil and gas billionaires and lobbyists out there, hear us loudly and clearly: your desire for more profit… will no longer jeopardize our children’s right to a healthy and habitable planet. When Bernie is president we are passing a Green New Deal.”
Former State Rep. Joe Salazar also spoke to support Sanders, who endorsed Salazar when he was running for the Democratic nomination for Colorado Attorney General last year.
Salazar is also the Executive Director of Colorado Rising, which pushed for the ill-fated Proposition 112 during the 2018 elections.
“One of the things that I do on the side is that I sue the hell out of the fossil fuel industry,” Salazar quipped during his remarks.
Sanders bested Hillary Clinton and won Colorado’s Democratic caucuses in 2016. Recent polls show that Sanders is at the top of the heap for 2020 as well, in a statistical tie with former Vice President Joe Biden.