I was too busy/apathetic to do anything when the Senate was considering the energy bill in June, but the Union of Concerned Scientists roused me with yet another Action Alert, prompting me to contact my Representative as the House prepares to consider its energy legislation. Unfortunately, the Senate bill is a morass of regulatory half-measures and I doubt the House will be able to clean it up much. Regardless, here’s my attempt at lobbying for a sensible national energy policy, a letter which I submitted directly through my representative’s Website since the UCS submission form would have forced me to insert text calling to preserve heavy-handed regulations passed by the Senate with which I don’t agree. (I side with the UCS on fundamentals—greenhouse gases must be curbed to prevent anthropogenic global-warming-induced disasters–but not on all methods–micromanaging government interventions.)

Representative Kirk,

As you know from my previous correspondence, I believe our nation’s energy policy to be of central importance to our economic, environmental, and security interests. While I applaud some of the intent in the changes to U.S. energy policy direction contained within the Senate’s June 22 energy bill, I still have serious misgivings about the legislation. I write to ask that you fight in the House to align our energy policy with the true public interest, specifically:

While I support a mandatory radical 80%+ phased reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate climate disasters from global warming, I consider Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE), Renewable Energy Standards (RES), and Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) provisions intrusive, heavy-handed regulation that not only promotes big government bureaucracy but whose milquetoast requirements actually do too little to combat the problems they were designed to address.

What the nation needs instead is a market-based cap & trade system on greenhouse gas emissions and/or a environmental tax-shifting excise on greenhouse gas producing energy sources. Either of these market-friendly alternatives to additional command & control regulations would spur the market to increase fuel economy, increase our energy efficiency, and make clean energy sources more cost competitive and therefore ubiquitous, all without needless & inefficient government micromanagement and with the added benefit of spurring sustainable economic growth.

This country must stop propping up the oil, coal, natural gas, & nuclear industries with obscene tax-payer funded subsidies. Further, we must not simply turn to pour good money after bad to subsidize the latest alternative energy source, either. We must instead begin a planned phase-out of these environmentally counterproductive subsidies, promote and heavily support basic research on clean energy alternatives, and then start letting the market decide which fuels and energy sources best meet our needs while still protecting the global commons through market-based cap & trade emissions standards and environmental tax-shifting mechanisms.

As a Republican, I know you value free markets and small government. From your public statements and district-level actions, I know you also value environmental protection. Please combine these two values as you consider the energy bill and related legislation in the House and work to put our nation on a secure path toward energy independence and sustainable development.

Keith Gillette