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Issue Position: Energy

Issue Position

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A 21st century energy policy is critical to a strong America. To make that plan a reality, we must end our dependence on fossil fuels. As a member of the House Caucus on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, I will support legislation in the 112th Congress that reduces our country's reliance on fossil fuels and encourages the use of clean, sustainable energy sources, like wind, hydroelectric, biomass, and solar energies. I will challenge counter-productive energy policies that harm our environment and subsidize our current dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil.

The transformation to renewable energy sources will help revive the economy and spur job creation. The U.S. is falling behind the world in developing these still-nascent technologies, and consequently missing many opportunities. In fact, much of the green technology that we do use is already manufactured overseas. We need to aggressively secure our position as a valuable, capable manufacturer and producer of green energy technology before we are left out of the market completely. Currently only 8 percent of our energy comes from renewable resources while China has installed more wind turbines in 2010 than the United States, European Union and India combined. There is no doubt that change is coming; America needs to be at the forefront of this energy revolution.

We must also remember how clearly the BP oil spill demonstrates the follies of continuing an energy policy that includes drilling for oil and gas off our country's shores. In the 111th Congress, I co-sponsored a bill banning the leasing of tracts for offshore drilling off the coasts of Florida. Furthermore, I will continue to vigorously oppose any incentives directed at lifting the current moratoria that has safeguarded our nation's shores and Florida's coast.

I have also been instrumental in efforts to draw connections between poor energy policy and the disproportionate effect that such policy has on minority communities. In 2003, House Republicans blocked an amendment that I offered to their Energy bill that would have required the Department of Energy to consider issues of environmental justice when developing, implementing and enforcing U.S. energy policy. If my amendment had been adopted, it would have been the first time in U.S. history that the Congress would have acknowledged that a poor energy policy has an adverse affect on minority communities.

An overhaul of our country's energy policy cannot consist of only production incentives. In the energy debates occurring in previous Congresses, I have called for corporate responsibility of industries that produce products that are highly dependent on oil and gas. A sound energy policy must be multifaceted and include measures that incentivize end-user adoption of energy-conserving practices. To help individual Americans do their part, I co-sponsored legislation to help property owners retrofit their property with energy-conservation technology. To have a 21st century energy policy, we must possess efficient consumer practices as well.

The future of America depends on a smart, responsive energy policy and I am committed to achieving just that.


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