Pelosi: Oil spill shows need to move ahead on 'moral issue' of energy reform

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi used the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to press for changes to energy policy that would reduce carbon emissions and the country's dependence on foreign oil.

“When we see the environmental, economic, and cultural impact of the tragedy on the Gulf Coast, we know that we need a new energy policy," she said in a convocation address at Cornell University on Saturday.


Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that energy is a "moral issue" that affects national security, the economy, the environment and Americans' health.

"If you believe as I do that this planet is God’s creation, we have a moral obligation to care for it and pass it on to our future generations in a responsible way," she said.

Pelosi told the college graduates that they'll benefit from reforms to healthcare, education and the economy already passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama.

"In America, we not only have an economic reason, but an ethical responsibilty to create jobs, affordable healthcare, quality education and establishing a new energy policy," Pelosi said. "These are the pillars of our new prosperity to create jobs. These are our decisions in favor of the future."

Pelosi laid out the specific ways young Americans will gain from what Democrats have done since Obama took office. She noted that the healthcare law would let young adults remain insured by their parents' health plans until they reach 26 and ensure all Americans won't be denied coverage because of a preexisting medical condition.

"You can be free, you are not job locked, you are free to follow your talent again without risking your or your family's health," Pelosi said.

She said student aid reforms that lower the cost of student loans, cap loan payments and expanding Pell Grants will give a long-term boost to the economy.

“Essential to our new prosperity is science and innovation, and we recognize that innovation begins in the classroom," she said.