Jeff Clark: ‘Come to the center and solve problems’

Published: 6/4/2021 12:51:31 PM

In the debate over infrastructure, we need a focus on fighting climate change. It’s frustrating to read about the dispute over the federal infrastructure bill, as reported in “GOP offers $928B on infrastructure” on May 27. In the article, Republican Senator Barrasso claims “what people at home in Wyoming think of as infrastructure is roads with potholes.” In 2021, we’re in a fight against climate change and he should know better.

We have less than a decade to transition off of fossil fuels, and infrastructure investments offer a huge opportunity to prevent the worst effects of climate change by building a grid that provides affordable renewable energy, spurring the electric vehicle market with a network of charging stations, and helping communities deal with mounting floods, stronger hurricanes, more wildfires and other natural disasters.

There is a way we can get bipartisan agreement on this important issue. A significant piece of climate legislation, the Energy Innovation and Climate Dividend Act (H.R. 2307), was crafted by legislators on both sides of the aisle and could start cutting greenhouse gas emissions in a matter of months. It puts a fee on fossil fuels to let the market account for their cost to our health and economy, and funnels that money right back to citizens. It’s market-oriented, doesn’t inflate the size of government and ensures those who may be impacted by increased energy costs come out ahead.

The challenge has been that the Republican members of Congress who sponsored the bill in the last session got primaried. We can get bipartisanship if members of either party don’t get punished for trying. This country is in dire need of having our elected representatives come to the center and solve problems — climate change being one of the most significant.

Jeff Clark

Amherst




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