Scott Brown Energy Agenda

Will This Senator Kill Renewables?

Written by Brian Hicks
Posted January 25, 2010

Sometimes, talking politics in these pages can incite a hostile response. 

Certainly those less-than cordial messages that show up on our message board from time to time remind me of this. But rest assured those messages don't dissuade us. 

Because bottom line: When it comes to investing in energy, it's imperative to pay very close attention to what's going on in Washington. Like it or not, policy can dictate the performance of various energy sectors.

We've seen proof of this with President Obama and his alternative energy agenda.

Although despite the overwhelming evidence that proves renewables to be both environmentally and economically superior to fossil fuels — don't think for a second that the backward fossil fool mentality in Washington has gone gently into that good night just because the President's supporting the transition to clean energy.

Take Democrat Robert Byrd, for instance. The West Virginia Senator is often the first to sing the praises of coal while folks in his home state have had to sit by and watch roughly 2,000 miles of their streams be buried in mining debris, due to the highly unsustainable practice of mountaintop removal.

Or Republican Jim Inhofe, who has blatantly and unapologetically lied about the cost of climate legislation. The Oklahoma Senator has been quick to call out some climate scientists for manipulating data — yet Inhofe doesn't seem to have a problem manipulating his numbers when it suits him.

The point is, we always have to monitor the actions (and words) of those on the Hill.

Because not only can these actions (honest or dishonest) affect our portfolio, they can also deter progress on the kind of alternative energy development that will help provide a safer, cleaner, and more economically-sustainable energy economy.

And this is why we've decided to take a closer look at newly-elected Senator Scott Brown's position on energy and the environment.


Don't Rush to Judgment

He flipped the switch on the Democrats' reign in Washington. And now, many Democrats are worried that Scott Brown will put the kibosh on any kind of quality environmental and energy legislation.

Of course, this assumes that all Republicans seek to stall clean energy progress. And that's definitely not the case. Especially for those who represent states that are now home to wind farms, turbine manufacturing facilities, and geothermal power plants. You know, the types of things that provide jobs and revenue!

It also assumes that Scott Brown — because he is a Republican — has zero environmental credibility.

But that may not be the case. And rushing to judgment on something like this accomplishes little more than continued partisan bickering.

The fact is if you step back and take a look at Brown's track record, you'll find that his position on some of these issues may not actually be so black and white.

For one, Brown supported Massachusetts' Ocean Management Plan. This is a plan that sets standards for the development of offshore wind and tidal energy projects. It also provides protections for environmental resources in about 60 percent of Massachusetts' coastal waters.

However, Brown also opposes the Cape Wind Project, saying that putting turbines in that location would be like putting turbines on Boston Common. 

Well, at least he admits it's about the location and didn't try to manufacture an excuse like so many other opponents have... 

Brown also supported the 2008 Green Communities Act, which provided the Commonwealth's 25 percent by 2030 renewable portfolio standard. 

Now we know that Brown is not a supporter of Cap & Trade, but he seems to support reducing emissions through conservation efforts and by integrating more wind and solar. Of course, Brown is also a huge supporter of nuclear, which while there are no emissions issues, there are still plenty of environmental issues that are too often swept under the rug. 

Don't Blame Me, I Voted For. . .

Of course, at the end of the day what matters most is what Brown will offer going forward. We hope folks will at least give the Senator a chance before launching partisan criticisms. 

We all know that it's not uncommon for people these days to go out and print up "Don't Blame Me I Voted For..." bumper stickers or attack the other side because, well, they're on the other side. But when we talk about the environment and we talk about energy, we can't continue to waste time on such nonsense.

Because while all those flag-waving hypocrites disguised as patriots are busy throwing around empty rhetoric and Thomas Jefferson quotes, we're spending more than $500,000 every minute on foreign oil. 

And while all those talk show bullies and D.C. spin doctors continue to mock environmental sustainability efforts, we're quickly depleting our limited fresh water supplies, allowing tar sands operations and coal-fired power to take precedence over the one thing we can't live without — water.

This is NOT acceptable.

Not for the environment and not for the economy. And make no mistake about it — both are connected.

To a new way of life, and a new generation of wealth. . .

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