Cong. Blumenauer Updates Federal Cap-and-Trade, Transportation Bill Status

With Congress mired in the health care debate, legislation critical to rebuilding communities, such as ACES and the reauthorization of the Surface Transportation Bill, languish. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) details the political climate in D.C.

The article features Q&A with the congressman, who touches on the status of a number of pieces of legislation and progressive action items:

"Between the economic recovery package and the House bill on climate legislation, we are already on track for $1 trillion in federal investments. We've been looking at putting probably another $100-200 billion in play in the next two to three months. What frustrates me is that too much of this has been based on past patterns instead of new opportunities to renew, rebuild, and revitalize America. Some of the billions dealing with energy, such as the smart grid, are still in the pipeline. Unfortunately, the legislation that would have reauthorized the current Surface Transportation Act is still languishing."

"Cap-and-trade is the approach most likely to garner the necessary support in the Senate; it certainly has the capacity to address the costs associated with carbon pollution as well as a mechanism to reallocate resources in order to minimize future pollution. I'm hopeful that it will be passed by the Senate in 2010."

"I'm a strong believer in using monthly utility bills to finance deep green renovation and energy efficiency; it's the simplest and most direct way to go about it. By providing ongoing financing and the ability to negotiate conservation rates, we could enable institutions that aren't in a position to assume more debt in a traditional way to contract with utilities-whether gas, electric, or sewer and water-and contractors to establish greater efficiency levels."

Thanks to James Brasuell

Full Story: Stuck in Second Gear: Cap-and-Trade Legislation, Transportation Bill Reauthorization

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