Castor urged to support renewable energy bill
Local business and environmental leaders are asking U.S. Representative Kathy Castor to help convince other members of Congress to support a major energy bill. They say it would increase renewable energy production, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create green jobs. More than a dozen people, including Phil Compton -- regional representative for the Sierra Club, met with members of Castorâs staff in Tampa this morning.
âThe Waxman-Markey bill is the bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that is in the Energy and Commerce Committee right now. Henry Waxman [D-CA] is the chair of that committee and that is the climate change bill.â
Waxman told reporters on Tuesday that a âcompromiseâ had been reached on the bill to appease Democrats from states which produce fossil fuel. It would require greenhouse gas emissions to be cut by only 17 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels. Longer-term emission limits would not change from original figures of 85 percent cuts by 2050, Waxman said.
States would also be required to meet minimum renewable energy standards under the new bill. But the mandates are lower than environmentalists had hoped, because energy efficiency gains could be counted as part of the 20 percent ârenewableâ quota that must be met by 2025.
Representative Castor is a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
The Sierra Clubâs Phil Compton says a federal renewable energy standard is needed. âIt addresses the failure of the state of Florida to enact a renewable electricity standard in the session that just ended because we would have a federal standard.â
The billâs text will be released on Thursday, Waxman said. Discussion will begin on Monday, and a final version of the bill will be ready by Memorial Day.
Because of the quick timetable, and because of resistance among some Democrats and Republicans, Compton says it will âtake a lot of action, a lot of workâ to rally support for the bill.
âWe hope that Kathy Castor prevails upon the 17 Democrats on that committee who arenât quite sure how they feel about climate change and to get them to see that this is the best thing for America to get our economy back in order, to get jobs out there.â
WMNF attempted to contact Representative Castor, but she did not respond by air time.
Yogi Goswami, co-director of the Clean Energy Research Center at the University of South Florida, says this climate legislation is important for two reasons. âThis is the future of our energy. And number two: that this is going to result in economic development.â
Before the group met with Representative Castorâs staff, they held a press conference. It was organized by the progressive activist group MoveOn.org Political Action. Joe Illingworth is a Tampa Bay coordinator with MoveOn.org. âThe things weâve done in the past -- drill, drill, drill baby -- just donât work anymore.â
âWell-directed fundsâ for renewable energies are needed in the state and from the federal government, according to Rex James of Solar Direct in Bradenton, who has been in the solar power business since 1976. âItâs critical now that we keep the rebate moneys that are dwindling.â
Corey Watson, an energy consultant with Eco Technologies, also favors solar rebates. He says there are other incentives the government could provide. âWe are in favor of renewable energy credits. â¦ We also staunchly support renewable energy dividends to put purchasing power into individuals and small businessâ hands.âcomments powered by Disqus