By Norris McDonald
I first met Congressman Ed Markey, right, about thirty years ago when he served on the Energy and Commerce Committee. He actually offered me a job after I testified before the Energy Conservation and Power Subcommittee in 1983. Richard 'Dick' Ottinger chaired the subcommittee at the time and I was struck that many of the issues that Markey, now chairman of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee, covered this week during marathon hearings were covered back then. The big difference is that adequate funding has been provided via the stimulus package this year to genuinely supercharge the energy efficiency and renewable energy programs we championed in the early 1980s. Yet the global warming challenge looms and legislation is needed to address it.
The hearings this week were to take statements on The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES), draft legislation introduced by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman and Energy and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Edward J. Markey. (More) Markey is also Chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.
I attended the hearing when Energy Secretary Stephen Chu and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson presented their testimony on April 22 (Earth Day). I watched the next two days of hearings on C-SPAN2. Ed Markey sat through three full days of hearings and was attentive to each and every of the over 60 persons giving his or her statement. He was neither distracted, impatient, nor self indulgent. He seemed to be genuinely interested in what each person had to say, even as they read their oral statements.
What struck me when Chairman Markey was talking about his 33 years of service on the energy committee is that I almost go back that far with him. It made me remember the days when I testified on the Residential Conservation Service (RCS), Weatherization Assistance and Commercial and Apartment Conservation Service (CACS) energy efficiency retrofit programs, among others. Yet here sat Ed Markey three decades later still pushing just as hard for the programs we pushed thirty years ago. Except global warming was not on the radar screen back then. Now there is a new urgency to implement climate change mitigation programs, but a weakened economy has put a question mark over the solutions being offered. Chairman Markey's stamina is inspirational and I too remain energized in trying to solve our energy and environmental problems.
C-SPAN House Energy and Commerce Subcmte on Climate Change Legislation 4-24
Friday Afternoon Session
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrinch
Americain Clean Energy & Security Act