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Pope: The energy stumbling block in Congress

"Pope: The energy stumbling block in Congress(By Carl Pope via The Metro
West Daily News)It's scary how difficult it is persuading this Congress to embrace a new
energy future. What's going on here? Part of the problem is business as
usual. Part is that while Congress understands health care is a national
issue, it still sees energy as a regional one - one on which each
representative is entitled to be as parochial as he or she desires. But
part of it is a failure on the part of advocates, the media, and the
political leadership to understand that America's energy problems are
rooted in a market that is fundamentally broken and that cannot be fixed by
a single silver bullet such as cap and trade or a carbon tax.Right now our government is making tremendous investments in order to build
the green economy, and Congress has a duty to make sure these investments
maximize the benefits to workers and the economy, as well as the
environment. They must answer President Barack Obama's call to action and
pass legislation necessary to not just address climate change, but also to
protect workers, and to enact a sweeping overhaul of our broken, costly,
and unsustainable energy system.The debate in Washington right now centers on the future of the American
Clean Energy and Security Act, a comprehensive plan currently in the House
of Representatives' Energy and Commerce Committee.So far committee Chairmen Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Ed Markey (D-MA) have
done heroic work in reaching agreement on the committee around a
comprehensive clean energy and climate plan, a critically important
milestone that has faced seemingly insuperable obstacles. Their leadership
has been truly remarkable. The committee has reached agreement on a
compromise version of the American Clean Energy and Security Act.But it is clear that Big Oil, Big Coal and other polluters are still
holding out for a congressional bailout. They will continue to try to
riddle this legislation with loopholes, water it down, and load it up with
hundreds of billions of dollars in giveaways. They don't want it to deliver
a recovery fueled by the clean energy jobs that America needs.Too many of America's utilities are determined to keep providing Americans
dirty electricity from coal. The auto industry is just as determined to
feed us a diet of inefficient, gasoline-powered cars. They've figured out
that the Obama administration and the congressional leadership badly want
to pass a cap and trade bill to send a strong signal before the Copenhagen
climate conference in December. And they are determined to highjack this
urgent moment. Their strategy is clear: Block any real reform of energy
markets. Block any real commitment to reduce our dependence on oil and
coal. Drag their feet to see if they can kill energy legislation altogether.If that fails, then they'll force a symbolic ""cap and trade"" bill that they
know they can unravel later.What's the solution? We need to tell our leaders that we won't let coal and
oil steal our clean energy future. We want Congress to enact not the shadow
but the substance of the president's energy platform.A strong bill must accomplish three things to effectively jumpstart the
green recovery, build the clean energy future, and end our addiction to oil
and coal.It must dramatically ramp up America's transition to cleaner, cheaper
energy sources like wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal; it must slash
energy waste in order to cut emissions quickly and cheaply, while saving
consumers money on their energy bills; and it must close the global warming
pollution loophole by making polluters pay for the greenhouse gasses they
emit.Strong legislation will also revitalize the manufacturing sector and create
the industries of tomorrow. These new clean energy jobs - building wind
turbines, installing solar panels, renovating buildings to make them more
energy efficient, constructing the smart grid - are jobs that can't be