Reply from Congressman Van Hollen

Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition to cap and trade legislation. I appreciate knowing your views on this important issue.

I believe that we need to shift our energy strategy away from fossil fuels and toward cleaner, renewable sources. Such a shift would increase our national security by reducing our dependence on foreign fuels and create new jobs in a clean, green 21st century economy. Currently, we spend billions of dollars purchasing fossil fuels from unstable regions of the world. I believe we would be better served by investing that money here at home in American workers and homegrown energy. By positioning ourselves on the forefront of discovery and innovation in the energy market, we will retain our competitive advantage in the world. We cannot allow our international economic competitors, like China, to beat us in this critical area.

Additionally, top scientists at the National Science Foundation, NASA, and other research labs have reached consensus: global warming is real and could cause dangerous coastal flooding, more intense hurricanes, insect-borne disease. They have also determined that excessive carbon emissions are exacerbating the problem.

Ultimately, our current energy strategy is not sustainable; our continued reliance on foreign oil threatens our national security and we simply do not have the oil reserves to sustain ourselves with domestic drilling. The House-passed American Clean Energy and Security Act, which I supported, takes us in a new direction. It will strengthen our national security by slashing our dependence on foreign oil – by as much as two million barrels a day by 2030. Instead of exporting hundreds of billions of dollars overseas, we will use our dollars to create high-skill, good-paying jobs as we harness American innovation to dramatically increase our use of clean, homegrown power – boosting solar by 20-fold, wind by 500%, biomass by 350%, and geothermal by 50% or more. And, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, it will do all this at a cost of less than a postage stamp a day for the average American household in the year 2020, without adding a penny to our national debt. The costs of doing nothing are too great.

After several months of development, introduction and posting to the internet on May 15, 2009, referral to nine House Committees, and an extensive mark-up in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the House passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act on June 26, 2009. Like all of my colleagues, I had plenty of time to review and consider the legislation.

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me and please do not hesitate to let me know whenever I may be of service.

Chris Van Hollen
Member of Congress