Letter to the Editor for August 2009

Leveling the playing field for renewable energy

Focus on Energy Security

Re: "The Competitive Edge -- Cap-and-Trade Would Be a Major Mistake" (July 2009)

Cap-and-trade or climate discussion is a political red herring distracting public and Congressional attention from The American Clean Energy and Security Act. Fortunately, this bill passed the House 219-211. Whether or not the Senate scrapes off the CO2 part of the bill, let's not forget that carbon (and other greenhouse gases) will eventually be capped or taxed as a hedge to climate uncertainty. The Supreme Court has already granted the EPA authority to do this via its ruling on a multistate lawsuit. That gives the EPA power to regulate CO2 -- with or without Congress.

The meat of this bill is about clean energy security -- hence its name. My business is manufacturing and it will benefit from this bill way more than any cost if cap-and-trade provisions are enacted. If the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI helps derail the energy and security bill, you hurt my business.

This bill can change our energy future by leveling the playing field for renewable. That's where energy security will come from. That's where the money can be found. And that's what we should be focusing on. The forgotten energy portion of this bill requires us to get 12% of our power from renewable sources such as wind and solar by 2020. It also mandates as much as 8% in energy efficiency savings.

This bill, when it emerges from the Senate, could be an energy cornucopia with something for everyone. Energy demand will increase 58% over the next 25 years. Trillions will be spent to secure the world's energy supply, and all sources are on the table. And everyone, including MAPI, seems to be forgetting that. Our country needs better sources and efficient use of renewable energy along with current energy like clean coal, natural gas, reliable nuclear and safe extraction of oil to fuel motor vehicles. We also need a better, smarter electrical grid. GE calls the smart grid "the biggest investment of the first half of the century." Cisco has claimed it will be "1,000 times bigger than the Internet."

I hope that MAPI will reconsider its position. Place the so-called climate parts of the bill in balance with the bill's real purpose: clean and secure energy. Take a socially responsible position and support progress toward dealing with climate change.

Laurence P. Gebhardt, Ph.D.
Captain, U.S. Navy (Retired)
Pocatello, Idaho

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