State of the Union

Full length interview with Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas)

Rep. Gene Green, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, talks about the impact of the Clean Power Plan on the economy and the future of congressional efforts on climate change policy.


Monica Trauzzi: A major theme of the president's speech tonight was climate change. Why do you think it was so important for him to dig into the science of climate change?

Rep. Gene Green: Well, I think there are deniers, and I believe human existence has altered our climate. I think we may disagree on how we want to solve that problem though, but I think we need to address it, because throughout the history of mankind we've see changes, not always because of mankind. But I think there's a reasonable way we can do it that will not hurt our standard of living, and that's my concern.

Monica Trauzzi: And is the president's clean power plan an effective approach?

Rep. Gene Green: Well, if it's worked out where EPA will also give the industry a chance not to cause electricity rates to go up and things like that. But I think there's a reasonable way to do it. You know, I'm from Texas, and our huge expansion of natural gas, we are helping solve the climate change problem because what we've done in our country, whether it be in a Marcellus Shale, in Ohio, in Pennsylvania or in Texas at the Eagle Ford or Barnett Shale, we're producing natural gas, which is so much better than some other fuels. But we need to use that to also go to other ways we can generate electricity.

Monica Trauzzi: And in fact the president highlighted the fact that America's number one in oil and gas production, number one in wind power and also highlighted the surge in solar power -- is that the definition of "all of the above"?

Rep. Gene Green: Well, the president didn't say it, but that is the definition. And in Texas, again, we're historically an oil and gas state, but we produce more wind power than the state of California, and we're growing like crazy. And we're going to do the same thing with solar. So that is all of the above. And I'm also a supporter of nuclear. Because of Fukushima, because of a lot of issues over the years. But I think we need to get back to where nuclear power is a part of our tool box to solve climate change.

Monica Trauzzi: Is it significant that the president did not mention all of the above?

Rep. Gene Green: I think he's probably gotten some flack over the years from the environmental community, but I think when you do what he did, it is all of the above, and I think that's where we're going to go to, and hopefully Congress will do that and enable that. He mentioned we need more infrastructure than one pipeline, and I agree, although I'm a supporter of Keystone. But to move that product across the country into our neighbor in Mexico, we need to have a quick way that we can reasonably permit pipelines across international borders.

Monica Trauzzi: All right, congressman, thank you for your time.

Rep. Gene Green: Thank you.

[End of Audio]



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