The two Democrats running against Iowa’s two Republican congressmen are striking back in the ongoing debate about U.S. energy policy.
Becky Greenwald, a Democrat from Perry, is running against Congressman Tom Latham of Ames who has said he’s "embarrassed" congress recessed without passing an energy bill. Greenwald suggests Latham should be embarrassed by his fellow Republicans who are staging a sort of sit-in in the U.S. House of Representatives. "I just look at it more as an election year prank and we have serious work that needs to be done and compromising and discussion that needs to happen and not be trying to pull stunts to garner attention," Greenwald says.
Greenwald would support drilling for oil along a greater expanse of the U.S. coastline if oil companies prove they’ve fully explored the 68 million acres of ocean ground they’ve already been awarded leases to tap for oil. "When you think about it, that’s two times the physical size of the state of Iowa and so I’d like to understand why we don’t make use of those lands and that offshore drilling that’s already available," she says.
If she’s elected to congress, Greenwald says she’ll back greater federal support of alternative energy industries like wind energy, which she says puts Iowans to work in good-paying jobs that cannot be outsourced. "We absolutely need a comprehensive energy policy that’s going to take us into the next several decades," she says. "We need to be addressing it from all angles."
Congressman King is one of the Republicans giving speeches to tourists in the closed-for-business House in a bid to pressure Democrats to reconvene in special session for an energy debate. Rob Hubler, the Democrat from Council Bluffs who’s running against King, says King’s stunt it "too little, too late."
"What we’re suffer under with $4 gas or close to it is a lack of a comprehensive energy policy both on the part of Republicans and Democrats…(who) bickered and argued and fought back and forth over it," Hubler says, "and now we are suffering the consequences of it."
Hubler accuses King of grandstanding rather than working to find a "real" resolution. "This is another example of how it is better to go before the camera and try to make some kind of a show out of something," Hubler says.
Hubler opposes drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, something King supports, as Hubler says there’s a less than six-month supply of oil there and that wouldn’t dramatically reduce the price of gasoline. "I think we need to have a comprehensive approach. We need to understand that we have gotten to where we are because of bickering and because of arguing and because of a lack of congress — Republicans and Democrats — to really look at the future and say, ‘What do we need to be doing?,’" Hubler says. "We need to be looking at alternative, green answers. We need to get nuclear power onto the discussion table."
With countries like Germany getting most of their electricity from nuclear power, Hubler says it’s time for the U.S. to reassess the improved safety records of nuclear plants since it’s been about 30 years since the high-profile accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl.