PORTLAND – I was happy to read the Sunday Telegram’s June 20 editorial, “Time to grow up and take action on climate.”

I applaud the newspaper for calling on Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to continue to work toward solutions to climate change and to create a clean-energy economy.

The Massey Energy coal mine tragedy and BP’s oil disaster currently unfolding along the Gulf Coast highlight the desperate need for a new clean-energy economy that ends our self-destructive addiction to dirty energy.

Mainers overwhelmingly support action on clean energy and climate. A May poll from Critical Insights shows that 73 percent of Mainers think our senators should vote for climate and energy legislation.

We know we can create jobs, boost the economy, reduce pollution and make our nation more secure by investing in energy efficiency and clean energy. We can do better than relying on coal, oil and other dirty energy sources.

Every day the Senate fails to pass clean energy and climate policy, we put our economy, our national security and our environment at risk.

Recently Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., introduced the American Power Act.

If this bill stays true to its goals, it can serve as a foundation on which we can build an America free from oil dependence, with millions of new clean energy manufacturing, construction and service jobs here at home.

But if America’s leaders are serious about a comprehensive clean energy and climate policy that will reduce our oil dependence, enhance our security, revitalize our economy and protect our environment, then this proposal will meet those goals only if the Senate both improves and completes it.

We are pleased that this draft allows the Environmental Protection Agency to move forward with performance standards for existing power plants including coal, but we are disappointed that the bill waives some key safeguards from the Clean Air Act.

Beyond this bill from Sens. Kerry and Lieberman, we must not allow any attempts to block EPA from regulating global warming pollution under the Clean Air Act — authority reaffirmed by the Supreme Court almost three years ago.

We are pleased that revenue from diesel credits will be directed toward cleaner and more efficient transportation options, but we feel that much more aggressive investments are needed to break America’s oil addiction once and for all.

We regret that bitter opposition from the dirty energy sources of the past like coal, oil and nuclear has watered down this proposal in order to unduly subsidize energy technologies which already receive an unfair public bailout.

The proposal must do more to stimulate clean energy and efficiency investments and also to position America to serve as a world leader in protecting forests and helping the world prepare for climate disruption.

We expect much more action from our leaders to help America break its addiction to oil as quickly as possible. We need more fuel-efficient vehicles and better public transit.

Furthermore, the American Power Act is no substitute for a moratorium on offshore drilling, which is the only way that we can ensure that the kind of disaster we are experiencing in the Gulf does not happen again.

We need to make sure that oil companies pay for the entire cleanup when they cause disasters such as this one in the Gulf.

We are hopeful that solutions to these problems can be found. We ask the Senate and President Obama to work with the bill’s sponsors to craft a strong final bill, drawing on the best features of other proposals by other senators including Sen. Collins’ CLEAR Act, and take it to the floor for consideration by the full Senate in the coming weeks.

This draft will be strengthened by ending subsidies for dirty and deadly energy sources of the past like coal, oil and nuclear.

It’s time to get serious about our clean energy future, and an unfair public bailout to these dirty energy industries is not the answer.

We need to move away from dangerous and deadly energy sources toward greater efficiency and cleaner energy. President Obama, our senators and others in Congress must provide the leadership necessary to develop a clean energy and climate solution that becomes law this year.

It’s time to finish what we started.