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The Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill, which is being considered on the House floor this week, is yet another glaring example of the flawed nature of the Republican budget. To try to meet their unrealistic goal of reducing the deficit solely through domestic non-defense discretionary spending cuts, Republicans are proposing to make crippling cuts to our national investment in improving energy efficiency and the development of renewable energy sources.

These cuts will only serve to make our nation more dependent on the coal, oil, and gas interests that own the Republican Party and more dependent on importing our energy from insecure foreign sources. Meanwhile, our global competitors recognize that this is an area in which there are many gains to be made and they are investing heavily to develop their own renewable resources and promote domestic economic and job growth.

Investment in clean energy is much more cost effective than continued giveaways to the oil and gas industry - the Commerce Department has found that clean energy generates 17 jobs for every $1 million spent on it, compared to just 5 jobs for every $1 million we throw at an oil and gas industry that doesn't need subsidies but continues to fight for subsidies and tax breaks.

As a representative from Silicon Valley, I hear every day from the companies in and around my district about how renewable energy sources like solar, wind, fuel cells, and hydrokinetic are the wave of the future. To reach their full potential, these sources must be enabled by basic science underlying new energy technologies, by the development of advanced batteries for electricity storage and through improved energy efficiency across the board, through solid state lighting technologies, building technologies, and smarter electronic devices that know when to reduce their energy consumption.

These fields are where the jobs are - WIRED magazine asked the professional networking service LinkedIn to survey its members who have switched industries in the last five years, and what it found was that the growth in Renewables and the Environment was 56.8 percent, far more than any other. The Silicon Valley Leadership Group, an organization of influential high-tech CEOs, includes "greater deployment of clean energy and clean technology coupled with investments in energy efficiency" in its federal policy agenda, because they know it "will contribute to this objective [energy independence] while generating hundreds of thousands of new, sustainable jobs here in the United States."

Sadly, this Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill does not reflect these important priorities. Instead, it provides only $1.3 billion for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy programs, 27 percent below than the current funding level and 59 percent below the President's Budget Request. Funding is slashed for many activities: solar energy, 64 percent below the President's request; fuel efficient vehicle technologies, 57 percent below the President's request; building technologies, 68 percent below the President's request; biomass and bio-refinery research and development, 56 percent below the President's request; home weatherization assistance, nearly 90 percent below the President's request; and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, 82 percent below the President's request.

The unrealistic Republican budget has left us with an allocation for this bill that is too small for our nation's needs, and too small to offer meaningful amendments to improve these woefully inadequate funding levels. To make matters worse, Republicans have been so driven by ideology that they required the chairman to include an offset in this bill for emergency spending to deal with recovery from the storms and flooding along the Mississippi River, an offset that would gut our national investment in High Speed Rail. This requirement marks yet another way in which this Energy and Water Development bill would take our nation backwards, away from achieving a sustainable future.

We need to do better than this bill. We need to aggressively pursue clean energy while we still have control of the game, before it is too late and our climate has changed forever, we are running out of oil, and we are running out of time. Silicon Valley is ready to lead, we just need the rest of the nation to join us. I oppose this bill because it fails our nation.

Rep Michael Honda is a member of the House Budget and Appropriations Committees and represents Silicon Valley. Follow Rep Honda on Facebookand Twitter.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Oligarchs can't make money on sun and wind (4+ / 0-)

    There's far more money to be made in nonrenewables that are absolutely guaranteed to go up in price as the supply runs out.

    The Republican party is a sadistic, insane political arm of the Oligarchs who put them in office, and they will serve their masters, no matter what it does to my country.

  •  So Rep Honda, what can we do? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, Outrider, neroden

    Clearly, the Republican economic suicide bombers are perfectly willing to blow up the worlds economy and the future of our country in order to preserve and increase the transfer of wealth from the middle class to the wealthiest in the nation.

    How do you propose we combat the willingness to blow up the house and everyone in it?

    Democrats keep negotiating as if they're dealing with the party of Everett Dirksen, when in reality they're dealing with Hannibal Lecter.  Are you prepared for an all out war next year to expose the Republican party for what it is?  Or do you prefer to keep fighting the same types of battles, over and over again, and hope to achieve a different result?

  •  As you say, the coal, oil and gas (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pollwatcher, neroden

    companies own the Republican Party. The question is to what extent do they own the Democratic Party as well.

    Too often the leaders of the Democratic Party ask us to march proudly under the white flag of surrender.

    Better times to come unless we settle for the alternative.

    by Outrider on Mon Jul 11, 2011 at 03:12:23 PM PDT

  •  Australia just passed a $25 per ton CO2 tax (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden

    Higher carbon taxes make renewables competitive.

  •  Rep. Honda, please connect the dots. (0+ / 0-)

    The Republican GOAL is to give more money to coal, oil, and gas profiteers.  The deficit hysteria is the EXCUSE.

    The Republicans have other, nastier goals including the overthrow of democracy in the US, as demonstrated by the 2000 Presidential election theft, and the abolition of local government in Michigan by Rick Snyder (in contravention of the Michigan Constitution).

    Don't just oppose this bill.  Start recognizing what you're dealing with and inform your colleagues.  You should read the first few pages of Krugman's The Great Unravelling (as noted in my sig), as well, especially if you're going "The Republicans can't possibly be doing this intentionally".  They are.  Krugman explains what they're up to and explains part of why the majority of elected Democrats in DC just can't figure it out, and don't seem to know how to fight properly.

    Apologies if you already know all this.

    Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

    by neroden on Mon Jul 11, 2011 at 05:43:20 PM PDT

    •  Heh. I notice 3 people made similar comments. (0+ / 0-)

      So I'm going to connect the dots further for you.

      You may have to oppose Harry Reid and Barack Obama in order to fight the Republican fascists and support the Democratic Party Platform and the American people.

      Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

      by neroden on Mon Jul 11, 2011 at 05:44:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  An important topic and diary, Rep. Honda. (0+ / 0-)

    Thank you ... tipped and recced.

    Sadly, this Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill does not reflect these important priorities. Instead, it provides only $1.3 billion for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy programs, 27 percent below than the current funding level and 59 percent below the President's Budget Request. Funding is slashed for many activities: solar energy, 64 percent below the President's request; fuel efficient vehicle technologies, 57 percent below the President's request; building technologies, 68 percent below the President's request; biomass and bio-refinery research and development, 56 percent below the President's request; home weatherization assistance, nearly 90 percent below the President's request; and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, 82 percent below the President's request.

    This information does make me wonder just wtf some Kossacks are talking about when they portray President Obama as being no different from Republicans, though.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Mon Jul 11, 2011 at 06:21:36 PM PDT

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