Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, discusses opportunities for action on energy.
Monica Trauzzi: Congressman, tonight the president spoke about his year of action agenda. What opportunities do you see within the Energy and Commerce Committee to move forward on that agenda?
Rep. Gene Green: Well, there are things I would hope that the Energy and Commerce Committee would do. One, by court decision the EPA has the authority to deal with greenhouse gases. I really think Congress needs to make those decisions. I don't think cap and trade's a solution, but I do think we ought to build on the success we've had the president talked about. Over the last few years we've actually reduced our greenhouse gases in our country. Some of it was because of our downturn in our economy, but a great deal of it was because we're seeing more and more use of natural gas. And frankly, even coming from Texas where I do, I'm an oil and gas guy, but we actually have the highest production of electricity from wind power, and hopefully we'll do the same thing with solar. I think we can control carbon, but it needs to be a congressional decision and not necessarily an agency decision.
Monica Trauzzi: So based off of what he said on carbon pollution and curbing carbon, do you think that he plans to continue to move aggressively forward on his Climate Action Plan?
Rep. Gene Green: Well, I think he will. And hopefully that'll spur us to say, "Wait a minute, these are so important in our economy it should be the elected officials making these decisions." And I'm hoping our Republican majority will do that. I voted for cap and trade, I think it's a flawed system, because that was all we had, but I do think we can take advantage of an example of additional renewables, but particularly the growth in natural gas that'll reduce our carbon, but also reduce our electricity so our manufacturing capacity continues to grow. I'm in an area in Houston that our chemical plants, our refineries are expanding simply because of our easily natural gas and also liquids we're getting. That's part of our manufacturing boom. So I want to continue that to grow.
Monica Trauzzi: He said that his "all of the above" energy strategy is working. Would you agree?
Rep. Gene Green: Well, I think there's still some bumps in that road, but I do agree with him with "all of the above." Obviously nuclear power, I support it, but it's not expanding; in fact, we're, I would like to see that, that's another solution for carbon control. In parts of the country they are, but not in my area.
Monica Trauzzi: All right, congressman, thank you.
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