Monday, July 27, 2009

An Email From My Congressman

Prior to the House of Representatives voting on the Waxman-Markey climate bill, I emailed my Congressman, Steny Hoyer, to express my views of the bill and to encourage him to vote against it. As I expected, my effort was in vain since Congressman Hoyer is the House majority leader. I knew there would be no chance in hell of him going against the party line.

I had emailed the Congressman a few days before the vote on the bill which took place on June 26th. It took his office (I am sure Congressman Hoyer did not write the email that I have included in this post) a month to reply. Needless to say, the response is nothing more than Democrat talking points on the benefits of the legislation. Since the bill still has to get through the Senate, I will be sending emails to Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin. I do not expect any different result as both are Democrats.

The email from Hoyer's office states that I should not reply to the email as it is from an outgoing only email address that can not accept replies. If I could reply, I would point out to Congressman Hoyer that inspite of Al Gore's insistence, the science is not settled on global warming. There are multiple studies to suggest otherwise. On top of that, Europe has had cap and trade since the passage of the Kyoto Protocol and have actually seen their CO2 emissions increase. Though I doubt that those arguments would do anything to bring Hoyer over from the dark side.

July 27, 2009

Dear Mr. ,

Thank you for contacting me to express your opinion regarding provisions aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emissions in H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. I appreciate your taking the time to share your views on this important matter.

H.R. 2454 is a comprehensive energy bill. It contains provisions to promote renewable sources of energy, carbon capture and sequestration technologies, clean electric vehicles, as well as smart grid and electricity transmission. Additionally, it would increase energy efficiency across all sectors of the economy, protect U.S. consumers and industry utilities, promote green jobs, and implement an emissions cap to address greenhouse gas pollution. H.R. 2454 was introduced by Representative Henry Waxman on May 15, 2009, and passed the full House of Representatives with my support on June 26, 2009 by a vote of 219 to 212. It now awaits action by the Senate.

H.R. 2454 would establish a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The program would limit greenhouse gas emissions nationwide beginning in 2012 to 97% of 2005 levels (3% reduction), and emissions would decline to 83% of 2005 levels (17% reduction) by 2020 and 17% of 2005 levels (83% reduction) by 2050. H.R. 2454 would give utilities and businesses that emit carbon dioxide three ways to comply: 1) hold an allowance, or right to emit, for each ton of carbon dioxide; 2) buy one of the 2 billion tons per year allowed under the program of carbon sequestered by U.S. forests or agricultural practices, or international forestry (known as an offset) in lieu of reducing their emissions; or 3) reduce their emissions. The trading system would allow utilities or businesses that innovate and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to sell their excess right to emit to other businesses that need them to comply.

At the beginning, H.R. 2454 would distribute the majority of allowances to utilities and businesses at no cost to support various policy objectives, including lowering energy costs for consumers, and assisting trade-vulnerable and other industries to make the transition to a clean energy economy. In addition, an increasing percentage (approximately 18% in 2016, and 70% by 2035) of the allowances would be sold through auction. The auction revenues would be used to invest in clean energy and energy efficient technologies. This bill also creates a Clean Energy Bank to fund promising energy projects across America; and it invests in high-tech transmission lines to build the essential foundation for a more efficient grid. New transmission lines, comprised of superconducting cable and other efficient wires, will carry more power within existing rights-of-way, with less land use. The result will be a more secure, environmentally-friendly grid.

Global warming threatens every one of us; it will affect the kind of lives our children will lead and the kind of prosperity our country and our world will enjoy. In my view, the establishment of a cap-and-trade system would mark our nation's first serious effort to account for the cost of carbon emissions - and it would be our most important response to global warming to date. We can fight global warming with the same kind of market-based, cap-and-trade solution that was so effective at combating acid rain at minimal cost in the 1990s.

While I understand the concern that cap-and-trade will not be without cost, the reality is that we are already paying the cost of carbon emissions. The longer we wait to act, the more we will pay every year. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), if we take action now, we will see job creation, growth, clean energy and energy independence for less than 50 cents per day by 2020 for the average household.

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts with me. To stay informed, please visit my website at While there, you can sign up for the Hoyer Herald, access my voting record, and get information about important public issues. If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

With kindest regards, I am

Sincerely yours,

Steny H. Hoyer

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NOTE: Please do not respond to this message, as it comes from an outgoing-only email address that cannot accept replies. If you would like to contact me via email, please do so through my website's contact page.

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