Congressman Bruce Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, was among a group that went to the White House this week to meet with President Obama about energy policy.
Braley and the other Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee emerged with agreement on just one detail: giving rebates to Americans who trade in a "clunker" and buy a newer, more fuel-efficient car or truck. Braley, though, calls it a "productive" session.
"One of the things that was very important was that we get all of the Democrats on the committee in a room because, if you look at the members of the committee, we represent very diverse geographic areas," Braley says. "Some of the states don’t have the same potential for renewable energy growth that Iowa has demonstrated and so there’s obvious concerns…that need to be addressed."
The president is pushing Braley and the rest of the House Energy Committee to draft a comprehensive energy bill by Memorial Day. Braley says it’s important to give industries some "certainty" about what may be required to meet new carbon emission standards, for example.
"Many of the industries (that) are going to be impacted by this legislation are at the table and wanting to work with us," Braley says. "And that’s why we used the U.S. Climate Action Partnership which includes many of those industries, includling some in the first district like Alcoa and Deere & Company, who want to know the rules of the game so they can plan for their energy future going forward and be prepared to make the necessary investments."
According to Braley, it’s important to put "triggers" in the legislation so that American companies can remain competitive with those based in growing countries like India and China, although exactly what those triggers might be is unclear at this point.
Braley plans to host an invitation-only "workshop" in eatern Iowa today to discuss the "American Clean Energy and Security Act." It will be held this afternoon at 2:30 in Dubuque at the future home of an I.B.M. operation. The facility is being renovated with so-called "green building" techniques that improve energy usage and water conservation.