Op-Ed: This Week In Washington


Date: July 6, 2009

This Week In Washington

By Representative Larry Kissell

Last week, I voted against the Cap and Trade legislation. The Cap and Trade legislation put American jobs at risk and could lead to increased energy costs. I could not vote for a bill which may cost hard-working folks in the Eighth District jobs and increase energy costs for our families.

Here at home in the Eighth District, we face staggering unemployment numbers. Most counties are in double-digits with some edging ever closer to 20 percent unemployment. That is unacceptable. We must do everything we can to reserve this troubled economy.

Some said that the energy bill might have created new jobs in green technology, but I could not support that without protections against employers in our district taking jobs overseas. It is my responsibility to protect our district and this bill could cost more jobs.

I believe energy independence is one of the most critical issues facing our nation. America must find a viable, common-sense, comprehensive policy to encourage green energy technology and end our dependence on foreign oil. This bill did not meet those goals.

Until we have a global plan to curb energy use, we risk losing jobs to countries whose environmental regulations are more lax. Countries like India and China have cheaper energy costs and lack any environmental regulations. We have lost enough Eighth District jobs to other countries.

America is the world's largest consumer of energy. We spend or borrow more than $700 billion every year to purchase oil from foreign countries. That money could be better spent here at home to develop millions of new green jobs and a sustainable domestic energy plan. But H.R. 2454 was not the solution.

I believe our country's economic recovery will be rooted in green technology. There are thousands of opportunities for our country's best innovators to create new jobs in renewable energy. We need to put America's brightest innovators to work discovering new technology and opportunities.

My commitment to promoting new green technologies, improving energy efficiency and exploring renewable resources such as bio-fuel, bio-diesel and animal co-products remains unchanged as does my commitment to bringing more jobs to our communities and fighting for economic recovery.

Energy reform must not come on the backs of American people who are already struggling to simply put food on their tables. I simply could not vote for a bill which may cost hard-working folks in the Eighth District jobs and hurt our families.

Many of you reached out to my offices to express your interest in this vote, and your voices were heard. I voted no to cap and trade because I believe it was not right for our district.