Two leading statehouse Democrats joined forces with both military and environmental interests to speak out for the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.
It’s still a bill right now and it heads to the full U.S. House. At the state level, Senator Phil Leventis and Representative James Smith, both servicemen, say that there is a national security connection to promoting alternatives to oil as an energy source.
James Holland, the commander of the South Carolina American Legion, agrees.
“However you look at it, we do need to wean ourselves from our dependence on oil because it drives us into a lot of other things. We pay world policemen,we get involved and have to make deals with countries, in fact, where we have no other interests than oil. And we can look at what’s going on today in the Middle East,” says Holland.
Also represented in the press conference were various South Carolina environmental groups. Richland Representative James Smith, who recently served in Afghanistan, says the two interests do connect.
“Often there are cases where the money we spend to bring oil to run our economy and to run our cars here ends up supporting our enemies,” says Smith. “So in a sense we are funding both sides of this war on terror. What we’d like to see and what we know will happen with the passage of the Clean Energy and Security Act is increased energy independence.”
Sumter Senator and Air National Guard General Phil Leventis is a decorated fighter pilot. He says this is a grassroots issue that starts with the states.
“The states have a big role,” he says,”we’re the places where we test these things out, see what works, what gets bipartisan and broad support. Then it moves up to D.C. and that is exactly what’s happening. That’s what I hope is happening now. If our members of Congress from South Carolina and our U.S. Senators from South Carolina would examine what is going on here, they would go full steam ahead in Washington.”
Perhaps the most divisive parts of the bill known as Waxman-Markey deal with setting mandatory caps on pollution.
The committee vote in the House was divided along party lines and the vote the in the full House is expected to be the same.