Got this email this morning from my congressman!
Dear Ms. :
Thank you for contacting me regarding HR 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act. I appreciate your thoughts and concerns regarding this legislation.
I happen to believe that our earth is getting dangerously warmer as a result of human activities. Even if one disputes this point, we can all agree that decreasing our dependence on foreign oil is critical to America's long-term energy security. As a farmer and a steward of the earth, I also believe that we should strive to leave our planet better off for the next generation. I voted for the American Clean Energy and Security Act because it is a good starting point for achieving energy security and protecting our planet.
As I began reviewing this legislation, I had two fundamental questions: (1) does ACES offer an effective way to reduce global warming and secure American energy independence and (2) are the costs for consumers reasonable?
Regarding the first question, I believe ACES offers us a good plan to transition away from foreign sources of energy while decreasing our carbon emissions. This is in part because the legislation recognizes the diversity of our country and the various types of energy we depend on. While the bill establishes nationwide renewable energy standards, it also envisions some increases in oil drilling off the Gulf Coast, further research in clean coal technologies for coal states, and more investments in modern nuclear energy for eastern states.
Moreover, my personal efforts, in close coordination with Rep. Brian Baird of Washington and Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, helped secure new opportunities for our beleaguered natural resource communities to participate in this new energy economy. We can finally use our national and private forest biomass for renewable energy rather than see it contribute to carbon pollution as a result of our western wildfires every summer. Many folks back east have no concept of how rural Oregon has been in a severe recession since the 1980's. With the changes I helped secure, both urban and rural America will be part of the solution together.
As for my second concern, I know many Americans are understandably worried about the potential costs of this plan. I firmly believe, however, that ACES will lower costs for most Americans, especially Oregonians, in the long run. The bill provides significant cost-saving measures. It would help protect us from exorbitant price increases by allocating over 50 percent of the free carbon allowances to electricity, natural gas, home heating oil, and propane providers with the express mandate they be used to keep rate and price increases down for consumers. The poorest 20 percent of American households would also receive a $40 rebate in energy costs. As a result, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that these efforts would cost consumers only $.47 per day in 2020.
Costs will also be kept down since we will not be required to transition overnight. The carbon emissions standards established in the bill would be phased in over 40 years, starting from a 17 percent reduction by 2020 and increasing to 80 percent by 2050. This gradual phase-in means consumers will not experience an abrupt hike in energy costs.
In fact, these renewable energy standards proposed in ACES are virtually no different than what Oregon has adopted already. We are well ahead of the national curve when it comes to using renewable energy sources, such as wave, wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, waste-to-energy, and especially hydroelectric. Since we are already more energy efficient than the rest of the country, we keep our costs down and add more jobs and investments more quickly to our vibrant green energy sector.
We cannot afford to keep repeating the same mistakes of the past. Now is the time to chart a new course for energy policy. I voted for the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 because its final version not only provided a thoughtful path for securing America's energy independence over the next 40 years but also limited the financial impact to American consumers. This legislation dovetails perfectly with Oregon's culture and commitment to green and renewable energy.
As HR 2454 makes its way through the Senate, I will follow it closely and take your concerns into consideration prior to any action. If you would like the opportunity to review the bill yourself, you can find a copy online at THOMAS (Library of Congress)
Thank you again for contacting me and should you have any further questions or concerns, please contact my office by calling (202) 225-5711 or 1-877-301-KURT. To keep updated on my activities, please sign up for my e-newsletter by visiting my website at Congressman Kurt Schrader : Home
Member of Congress