October 17, 2009

Senator Sanders Response to My Cap & Trade Question

I asked our junior Vermont Senator a simple question (one which the Congressional Budget Office may have had the answer because part of their job is to evaluate the costs of various legislation): What is the estimated cost to implement S. 2414, Waxman-Markey's American Clean Energy and Security Act?

I did not ask about the impact that this bill would have on America's economy driven by the increase in the cost of energy or inquire about climate change or jobs. He did not answer the question nor explain why he would not or could not.

Instead, as I have found often, our politicians cannot or choose not to answer direct questions. They prefer to shmooze their constituents with their view of the wonderful benefits they believe will come from legislation they support and highlight their role in creating it.

I'm tired of worthless, self-serving communications from politicians to their constituents
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Dear Mr. Usher:

Thank you for contacting me regarding your concerns with S. 2414, Waxman-Markey's American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES). I consider climate change to be one of the most important issues facing our world and I appreciate the opportunity to respond on this very critical issue.

As you may know, the Senate has released the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act - a comprehensive climate bill. Though this bill is similar to ACES Act, there are some significant differences that address some of your economic concerns. I personally have worked to ensure that this legislation address the United States' goal to decrease its' contribution to climate change while promoting green economy growth. This Act provides long-term funding for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants to help Vermonters use less energy and save on their electric bills.

To create jobs, the Senate climate bill also provides funding specifically for the Green Jobs Act, which I co-authored. In order to keep these jobs within the United States, I successfully
pushed to decrease the number of international offsets to ensure that emission reduction and sustainable energy projects are completed in the
U.S. instead of overseas. Please know that I am committed to an "energy revolution" that invests in a clean energy future. This revolution
will score a triple win: green jobs and manufacturing, saving money for consumers, and a better economy and environment.
Expansion of the green jobs sector has the capacity to rejuvenate the ailing manufacturing sector in this country, creating millions of long-term jobs that will occur at every level of education and for every skill set. Indeed, studies have shown that solar and wind power creates more jobs per megawatt of installed energy capacity than their fossil fuel counterparts. As chair of the Green Jobs Subcommittee in the Senate, I am helping to lead the way towards the creation of a whole new generation of well paying jobs in the large areas of sustainable energy and energy efficiency. To read more about the development of green jobs, please visit http://sanders.senate.gov//legislation/issue/?id=1DBAA3BB-1788-4E83-8984-14A72B3A5B02.

Regarding your concerns with oil prices, this bill includes carbon market assurance principles calling for strong aggregate position limits and margin requirements that prevents Wall Street from excess speculation on oil prices. Not related to climate legislation, I address high oil prices and the petroleum industry's excessive profits. I testified at a hearing of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and told Chairman Gary Gensler that "the bottom line is that we have got to make sure that Americans are no longer ripped off at the gas pump by some of the same Wall Street gamblers responsible for the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression." To read more of my statement at this hearing, please visit http://sanders.senate.gov/files/cftc-ststement.pdf.

I have also introduced legislation that would require the CFTC to exercise emergency powers
to limit speculation. This bill would direct the CFTC to stop sudden or unreasonable fluctuations
or unwarranted changes in prices. It would subject bank holding companies engaged in energy futures trading to strict limits, and require hedge funds trading in energy markets to register with the CFTC and make them subject to strict speculation limits.

Please know that as the Environment and Public Works Committee - on which I sit - addresses the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, I will keep your concerns in mind. To read more about my approach to climate change, please visit http://sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/news/?id=16e8f2cd-4920-4d46-b2ff-e775c6504ff5.

Again, thank you for contacting me about this important issue. Feel free to contact me again in the future about this or any other subject of interest to you, or for up-to-date information on what my office is working on please visit http://www.sanders.senate.gov.

While there, I invite you to sign up for my e-newsletter, the Bernie Buzz, at http://sanders.senate.gov/buzz/.

Please be aware that due to security screening procedures, postal mail to my office experiences
delays that will lengthen the time it takes me to get back to you. The fastest way to contact my
office is by calling 1-800-339-9834.


Sincerely,

BERNARD SANDERS
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United States Senator


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