In a speech that almost sounded like a warmup for an Earth Day address, Congressman Mike Rogers, R-Brighton, touched on U.S. dependence on foreign oil, alternative energy options and hybrid vehicles, in a talk before the Howell Area Chamber of Commerce Tuesday.
Rogers was critical of both the Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns for attacking the U.S. auto industry for their alleged failure to respond quickly to the need for more fuel-efficient, environmentally-friendly vehicles.
Far from lagging behind Asian and European carmakers, Rogers said the domestic "Big Three'' has been at the forefront of technological development, citing GM's two-phase hybrid SUVs and coming Volt electric car as examples.
Rogers also touted alternative energy sources such as nuclear, wind power and cellulosic Ethanol (contained in plants and trees and chemically identical to Ethanol produced from corn and sugar).
Rogers urged less government regulation so oil companies have the incentive to build and expand oil refineries and engage in more oil exploration. "We've got to open up the supply to encourage the oil companies to expand refineries,'' he said.
Rogers also praised measures under consideration in Congress to help homeowners in danger of foreclosure. "We have seen friends and family suffer through this economy and need to apply innovation,'' he said.
Included in the proposed measures is funding to help borrowers refinance loans they can't afford. The package would increase activity in neighborhoods that have properties in foreclosure.
"This way you can keep your home,'' Rogers said, adding that the measures wouldn't result in devaluing nearby homes in the neighborhood.
The legislation also would include a new tax credit and deduction for home buyers, plus a tax incentive for home builders. Also in the package is a provision that would make loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration easier to obtain.
"I agree with (Rep. Rogers') direction,'' Mark Wendt of Genoa Township said afterward, concurring with efforts in Congress to help homeowners in danger of foreclosure. "I don't agree with helping the mortgage companies - we shouldn't bail them out - but there should be some incentive to help homeowners, a lot of homeowners were misled,'' Wendt said.
Rogers praised the bipartisan effort that led to the current federal tax rebate program and urged further cooperation on the economy and other issues. "We have to have an honest political dialogue about what the solutions are,'' Rogers said.