Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Representatives Dingell Speaks On Energy & Climate Legislation

Apr 8: U.S. Representatives John Dingell (D-MI), Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, who is and will continue to be a major actor on the issue of climate change legislation delivered a speech at the Energy Information Administration (EIA) 2008 Energy Conference on April 8, 2008. Dingell and his Committee have issued a series of White Papers [See WIMS 2/25/08] on issues involved in the House-side climate change legislation. The Senate legislation, Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act (S. 2191) [See WIMS 3/17/08], is expected to be voted on in the Senate sometime in June.

The following are few excerpts from the speech with the full text available from the link below. With 52 years of experience in Congress, Dingell said, "this is one of the most critical periods in our nation’s history for energy policy." Chairman Dingell said:

-- "EIA has projected that the amount of energy saved from the energy bill Congress passed and the President signed in December will be only half of what others have projected."

-- "By now, it’s clear that Congress is moving forward in developing comprehensive climate change legislation. This process, like major portions of last year’s energy independence bill, is being driven by the Committee on Energy and Commerce. As I see it, the Committee has begun the third phase of our work on climate change. . . The third phase of our climate change work is now underway: preparing legislation that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 to 80 percent by the year 2050. We are moving closer to crafting this comprehensive legislation. Though we’re working to complete this process as quickly as possible, we’re most concerned with doing it well. I would note, that as we move forward, we are receiving little help from this Administration. Ultimately, whether the Administration chooses to engage in this process or not, the end result must be, and will be, a bill that protects our environment without putting the American economy at a disadvantage. . ."

-- "Despite its availability and importance, coal faces obvious challenges as we search for ways to reduce its carbon emissions. That’s why I am working to ensure that the climate legislation we draft recognizes the need to use this fuel more efficiently and cleanly. The development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies is fundamental to continued coal use in an increasingly carbon constrained world."

-- I recognize that nuclear power remains controversial in some quarters. However, this energy source continues to enjoy substantial Congressional support, as reflected in the loan guarantee provisions of Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Perhaps the biggest near-term challenge for nuclear power’s prospects is the question of waste disposal. I have long been a strong supporter of securing funding for the Department of Energy’s Yucca Mountain repository project."

-- "New source review, which requires plant-specific, case-by-case permitting of new and modified sources seems to be a far less efficient way of limiting greenhouse gas emissions than would an economy-wide cap-and-trade program. Requiring each individual state to prepare a state implementation plan on greenhouse gases might not be the best use of governmental resources."

-- "In all my years in Congress, taking on the challenge of climate change is the most difficult undertaking of my career. But, I am up to the challenge. I am excited about the opportunity it presents. I believe that comprehensive climate change legislation presents us with an opportunity not only to produce a bill, but a major legislative accomplishment."

Access the complete speech (
click here). Access the agenda and speakers for the EIA conference (click here). Access links to all Committee White Papers, letters, hearings, etc regarding the Committee activity on climate change (click here). [*Climate, *Energy]