Reaction to committee passage of The American Clean Energy and Security Act has been swift.

“The bill represents a crucial step forward in addressing the global climate crisis, the need for millions of new green jobs to end the recession, and the national security threats that have long been linked to our growing dependence on foreign oil and other fossil fuels,” says former Vice President Al Gore, board chairman of the Alliance for Climate Protection. “I encourage Congress to further strengthen this excellent legislation during floor consideration and move to pass this bill in both the House and the Senate this year.”

“Every day, it becomes clearer that we need to create new jobs and industries that will drive the clean-energy future, keeping energy prices low for families and businesses, all while addressing the challenge carbon emissions pose to our climate,” said Reed Hundt, cochair of Coalition for Green Bank, a consortium of leaders in energy development. “This legislation will provide reliable low-cost financing critical to a private-sector–led transition from carbon to clean energy.”

Tom Cochran, CEO and executive director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, applauds the bill, but he views it through a local lens.

“We’re concerned that the committee agreed on a bill that provides billions of dollars for state governments but excludes direct funding for cities, which is where the majority of climate protection actions have been taking place, as demonstrated by the 950 mayors who have signed The U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement,” he said. “We’re recommending that at least 20% of the direct proceeds from auctions created by this bill that go to states instead go directly to cities to support efforts already under way by nearly 1,000 mayors.”

Ralph Izzo, chairman of PSEG, a publicly traded diversified energy company, acknowledges groups may have specific agendas.

“We cannot let the search for perfection impede real progress,” he said. “Chairmen Waxman, Markey and Boucher listened to their colleagues and worked to produce revised legislation that reflects a balanced and collaborative approach. We’ve seen real leadership in the crafting of this comprehensive bill, and I am hopeful that we’ll see something move through Congress this year.

“This bill marks a turning point in the discussion and is an indication that the country is getting serious about the need to address global warming,” he added. “The threat of climate change requires that we transform the way we produce and consume energy, and the way we live our lives. How we respond will be the defining issue of our time.”