| ||U.S. Representative Niki Tsongas.|
With the EPA's mission threatened daily and deep cuts to clean energy funding proposed, we need to stand shoulder to shoulder with our allies on these issues. With this in mind, E2 New England members Berl Hartman, John Harper, Jay Baldwin, and Chris Kaneb met with U.S. Representative Niki Tsongas (D - MA) and her District Director Brian Martin on March 8 at her office in Lowell, Massachusetts.
Representative Tsongas, who is a founding member of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition
, is a strong supporter of progressive energy and environmental legislation. She currently serves on the Natural Resources Committee, which oversees legislation related to domestic energy production, National Parks, rivers, forests, oceans and wilderness areas.
Rep. Tsongas was not familiar with E2 and was happy to hear about our position as “the independent business voice for the environment” and our accomplishments at the state and federal level. Though the meeting was only scheduled for half an hour, the Congresswoman spent nearly an hour with us. We noted that we had at least 11 members in her district including Bill Capp, founder and CEO of Beacon Power, a clean energy storage company that is also in her district.
Chris Kaneb discussed the problems that gutting the Clean Air Act (CAA) would pose for business in terms of the need for predictability and let her know about a “Dear Colleague” letter to Speaker Boehner in support of the Act. Rep. Tsongas agreed to sign the letter and did so last week.
We also mentioned the need for predictable long-term funding for clean energy R&D especially for start-ups to get past the 'valley of death'. John Harper pointed out that H.R. 1, the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011 would actually rescind programs and money that had already been passed and allocated and how harmful this was in light of business’ need for predictability of financing.
Jay Baldwin talked about the Clean Energy Deployment Administration (CEDA) concept as a funding mechanism that would stimulate private investment in clean energy. She was not familiar with the concept so we left her a fact sheet on the issue.
Towards the end of the meeting we asked if she was aware of the discussions under way on revisions to the Magnuson-Stevens Act. She said that since she doesn’t have any coastal areas in her district she was following the issue but she would be open to learning more about it.
Overall the meeting was very successful and left us hopeful about our new relationship with Rep. Tsongas.
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