DECORAH, Iowa (AP) _ Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday that it's critical to repair damage to the environment and urged young people to make it a top issue during the presidential campaign.
``Today is Earth Day, and I personally believe every day should be Earth Day,'' the New York senator and Democratic presidential candidate said in Iowa. ``We have a duty to protect God's creation and we have a responsibility to repair the damage that we do as we go on in life.''
She was speaking to about 1,000 people packed into a gymnasium Sunday at Luther College in Decorah, in northeast Iowa.
``Some of the damage ... we didn't know about, we didn't understand,'' she said. ``But now we do _ so we have no excuses left.''
Clinton touted her plans to create a strategic energy fund, invest oil companies' ``windfall profits'' in renewable energy efforts and lead the nation to get 20 percent of its electricity from renewable resources by 2020.
She said she has introduced a bill that requires federal buildings to save energy and her campaign has even pledged to go carbon-neutral _ using energy efficient light bulbs and recycled paper in an effort to cut down on pollution.
``Please use this as a voting issue,'' she told the college students, who made up much of the crowd. ``Energy security, the environment, you are going to make those election issues that can help us elect people who can work, and actually make it so.''
Clinton, a prodigious fundraiser who is topping the polls of Democratic presidential candidates, lobbed harsh criticism at the Bush administration on the environment, health care coverage and the war in Iraq.
She said President Bush has mishandled the economy, and that the nation needs a new approach to negotiating trade agreements, including the addition of labor and environmental standards.
``We cannot have this disparity where you can't make a living in America on what people are paid in other parts of the world,'' Clinton said. ``We enter these trade agreements, and frankly, the standard of living in a lot of these countries doesn't go up, all the benefits of the trade agreements go to the people who are already wealthy.''