U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Howard has a big problem with proposed legislation its supporters claim will reduce global warming and promote clean energy.
The American Clean Energy and Security Act, he said, does little to help the environment while ignoring dependable and job creating energy resources such as coal and oil.
The bill is expected to come up for a House vote as early as next week.
Thompson said the legislation will introduce higher unemployment and less reliable energy.
"They want to push solar and wind," he said. "The science is not there yet. It's not even close. Those two combined make up less than 1 percent of energy needs."
U.S. Rep. Chris Carney, D-Dimock, gave less than a glowing endorsement to the legislation as well.
"It's time for the United States to lead the world in innovative environmental technologies and renewable energy," he said in a prepared statement. "For too long we have failed to address our dependence on foreign oil and the mounting problem of greenhouse gas emissions. That said, I have serious concerns regarding the proposed legislation in its current form. Surely we can find a way to address these critical issues without burdening hard-working Americans with a tax increase and without passing along increased energy bills to consumers. Increased energy costs would be a devastating blow to families across Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania, especially now as we are all struggling to turn our economy around."
Thompson called instead for tapping the nation's vast natural resources, including the natural gas reserves found in the 17 counties that comprise his 5th Congressional District.
He noted that Spain in recent years adopted a similar cap and trade measure of embracing alternative energy, which resulted in higher unemployment.
"For every green job (created), they lost 2.2 manufacturing jobs," he said.
The American Energy Alliance, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit advocacy group has spoken out against the legislation, claiming it will significantly raise electrical rates for families and businesses. The group's spokesman, Pat Creighton, said it would result in a net loss of 66,000 jobs in the state by 2020.
The legislation has the support of PennEnvironment, a statewide citizens advocacy group, which says it lays the groundwork for investing in wind and solar energy sources that won't run out, do not harm the environment, only grow cheaper over time, and create jobs.
Thompson said incentive-based initiatives should instead be used to protect the environment.
Such provisions would include tax credits for use of alternative fuels; cash incentives for innovative technologies, research and development, and application of renewable energy resources; and authorization of an accelerated regulary process for new nuclear reactor applicants.