Friday, March 16, 2012

Does Dean Heller Now Agree with President Obama on Investing in Our Future?

In January, President Obama came to town to talk about "transitional fuels" like natural gas. Next Wednesday, he'll be back to discuss renewables. Specifically, the President will stop in Boulder City to visit the nation's largest photovoltaic power plant.

So far, it looks like he'll be repeating what he said earlier this week.

And really, is President Obama wrong? Come on, is he wrong?

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Faced with global warming facts on the Rachel Maddow show last night, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) countered, “It’s not true.” Maddow asked him to react to the 97 percent of scientists who agree that global warming is real. [...]

As a prominent climate denier and Big Oil favorite, Inhofe’s ignored the scientific evidence throughout the interview. But he’s not known for relying on scientific research — recently, he quoted the Bible as proof.

One of his points was that environmentalists aren’t “winning” despite outspending the energy industry 2-1. But environmentalists are the ones vastly outspent by dirty energy, 8 to 1 in lobbying and contributions during the climate bill debate. Inhofe’s evidence was a discredited Climate Shift report where even the leading expert on the report withdrew his name.

During the interview, Inhofe denied Big Oil’s mere existence, saying “because we hear things about big oil but what you hear is not all that big of oil.” Inhofe said the $4 billion in tax breaks to oil doesn’t count as a subsidy, even though he admitted the industry is “actually doing really well right now.” The top five oil companies alone made $137 billion in profits, while spending $146 million lobbying Congress to maintain those same tax breaks.

Is he serious? No wonder why Dean Heller is running away from James Inhofe and his fellow G-O-TEA extremists. He's now trying to recast himself in a "greener" light despite voting in a way that makes Inhofe proud.

So will Dean Heller be joining President Obama in Boulder City to tout Nevada's bright renewable energy future? Will he rebuke fellow Republican Mark Amodei's past misstatements of the costs of renewable energy (versus all our subsidizing of the fossil fuel industry)? Does he now realize the potential to put Nevada's economy on a healthier footing?

It would be nice to see Heller join President Obama, Senator Harry Reid, and even Republicans like Governor Brian Sandoval in recognizing the sound science behind climate change and the sound economics of investment in renewable energy. Earlier this week, Senator Reid released a report detailing how Nevada benefits from investment in clean energy.

“There are more renewable energy projects under construction today than at any other time in Nevada’s history. That’s a major accomplishment,” said Reid. “The clean energy projects underway in Nevada did not happen by accident and they did not happen overnight and we must continue to ensure that Nevada real­izes its clean energy potential. This means fostering more private-public partnerships and improving government and private sector coordination and not eliminating critical job-creating tax credits.”

“Federal and State policies are especially important in Nevada because unlike some states, Nevada has no coal or natural gas to develop,” said Lydia Ball, Executive Director of the Clean Energy Project. “And the federal incentives for those fuels, some of which have been around fro nearly a century, do little to help our state develop our resources and power our economy.”

The projects highlighted in the report are predicted to create more than 2,200 jobs and add more than $1 billion to Nevada’s economy. The case studies and timeline presented demonstrate the critical role that important federal actions and state policies have played in the development of Nevada’s clean energy economy, which helped make that economic growth possible.

The renewable energy sector averaged 5.8% annual growth from 2003 to 2010 and brought jobs into this state that pay $8,000 more in salary than the median wage for other jobs in Nevada. And there's potential for even more growth and more jobs if we just invest in our future. President Obama and Senator Reid are clearly interested in investing in our future. Is Dean Heller ready to ditch his G-O-TEA buddies, including Mitt Romney and his ridiculous, gassy promises that even the conservative Cato Institute and Wall Street Journal have stated are ineffective, and join all the rest of us in the 21st century?

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