Transcript of Speaker Pelosi’s Remarks at Press Event on Building Back Better with Environmental Justice

October 20, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Congressional Democrats and advocates for a press event at the U.S. Capitol on the once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in climate action and environmental justice that will create good-paying jobs, reduce costs for families and slash pollution with the Build Back Better Act.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you very much, Tiernan, and I accept that compliment on behalf of the House Democrats, who are the most pro-environment House Democrats we've ever had.  Actually, most pro-[environment] Congress – House of Representatives we've ever had. 

And I'm here today to salute you all for the grassroots work that is being done to make sure that, when we Build Back Better, it is truly better for the children.  And for the children, we must save this planet that we will pass on to future generations, with great responsibility. 

It would be a dereliction of duty to build the infrastructure of America without doing so in a green way that protects the planet.  And that is exactly what Build Back Better does.  It will help us reach our goals, the President’s – President Biden's goals.  

When I say to President Biden how important this is – ‘You don't have to tell me,’ he said.  ‘I was the first legislator in the Congress to introduce legislation for addressing the climate crisis.’  And he did that in 1986.  So this is a high priority for him. 

So, we're talking about creating good-paying jobs.  This is about jobs.  We're creating – honoring our responsibilities to our children.  We're talking about health issues: clean air, clean water.  We're talking about job issues: being preeminent in the green technologies throughout the world.  We're talking about a security issue: our security experts tell us that the conflicts that can spring from competition for habitat and resources that spring from drought and famine and, you know, all of the challenges that are being faced.  Rising sea levels, what – drying up of rivers, encroachment of deserts and all the rest.  That can be a cause for conflict.  So, health care, jobs, security, values. 

Again, if you believe, as do I, that this is God's creation, we have a moral responsibility to be good stewards.  But, even if you don’t share that view, we all share the view that we have a responsibility to the children for the future.  

I, last weekend, had – was at the COP – the pre-COP meeting in Rome, with the G20, and, again, at a NATO meeting the next day in Portugal.  And in every meeting, it's about – it's about this issue.  It’s about climate.  And all leading up to Glasgow.  And we're so proud – Glasgow, that the President is going to be going there.  He will go there with great pride, because we will pass legislation that enables him to not only meet, but beat our goals – and to do so in a way that helps other developing countries, developing countries, poorer countries meet their goals as well. 

So, I'm honored to be here with so many House Members.  I don't say this in alphabetical order; it could be.  Kathy Castor, Chair of our Select Committee.  Don McEachin, a Member of it – and, actually he's worked on these issues in the Virginia State Legislature before he even came to Congress.  Ro Khanna, Joe Neguse, Andy Kim and our newest member, Melanie Stansbury: a scientist who comes bringing that background to this priority.  This is a priority for her in the Congress.  So, I thank our friends in the House and in the Senate.  For this, I wish it would be strongly bipartisan as it is in the country. 

In the meantime, let's thank the League of Conservation Voters.  Tiernan, thank you for your leadership – because, without the outside mobilization, none of the good things can happen in the best possible way.  We can do all of our internal maneuvering to make progress, but the outside of mobilization means everything.  So, thank you to League of Conservation Voters, all of the organizations, all the volunteers who have weighed in. 

And, thank you to the children who've made their voices heard on this.  Members of Congress on the other side of the aisle – well, all of us can learn a lot from the children, because the future belongs to them.  And they know that the planet has to be healthy for the children.  So, thank you.  It won't be long – we'll pass this legislation. 


I yield back.  Thank you.