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Hill unfairly criticized

Georgetown Township

In response to Kelly Roggenkamp's letter to the editor recently, I was surprised by his claim that Congressman Baron Hill should tell locals where to place a biomass plant but be against the Energy Bill that passed the House of Representatives at the end of July. The debate on the biomass plant notwithstanding, it's time for the truth to be told about the Energy Bill, and there were several factual errors in his letter.

Let's get this clear, the Energy Bill is about protecting our national security and creating jobs. We, as Americans, are tired of exporting over $700 billion each year to a Saudi prince or al Qaeda terrorists. This bill, instead, is predicted to create over 38,000 jobs in Indiana in an economic sector growing 2-1/2 times the rate of traditional jobs over the past 10 years.

Mr. Roggenkamp is correct only in that the original version was unworkable for Indiana. But, it was Congressman Baron Hill that fought to add provisions which make the bill passed by the House attainable for Hoosiers. Mr. Hill's biggest concern was indeed the impact the legislation had on electric consumers and fears that the bill would cause a burdensome spike in rates.

Mr. Hill fought for lowering the renewable energy standard to an attainable level and allocating 90 percent of emission allowances to regulated entities like utility companies. This is a big departure from the original bill, which called for an auctioning of allowances and would have raised rates.

Mr. Hill also fought for a waste-to-energy provision as a source to reach the renewable energy standard, something that should interest Mr. Roggenkamp and his support of biomass facilities. A long-time supporter of clean coal technology, Mr. Hill ensured that the bill included incentives for new technology, such as carbon capture, so that Indiana can continue to safely use fuel sources like coal and become a leader in the industry.

The assertion that the bill is a tax: think again. Several independent reviews of the legislation have found that the impact would be negligible and eventually completely offset by cost-saving implements.

Let's also stop thinking that Mr. Hill is the only supporter of the measure. More than 22,000 small business owners delivered a petition to Congress calling for action on this issue and the list of other supporters includes companies such as Alcoa, Caterpillar, John Deere, Duke Energy, Ford, General Electric, PepsiCo, Shell and Siemens. Even religious groups such as the Conference of Catholic Bishops, the United Methodist Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church support it.

Let's stop pretending the boogeyman is out to get us and recognize that Mr. Hill is doing just what we sent him to Washington to do: serve as an independent voice for his constituents!

Dennis O. Roudenbush
August 12, 2009

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