U.S. Rep. Mike Ross. Vote for sound energy legislation that promotes more renewable energy use and better environmental stewardship by energy companies?
Not as a captive of the commercial forces bent on building in his district the last poison-belching power plant in the free world.
UPDATE: Environmental groups jump Ross.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (May 22, 2009) –Yesterday, a group of concerned citizens from the Arkansas Nature Alliance held a demonstration outside the office of Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.), urging him to stop road blocking an important energy bill up for vote last night in the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee. On the late evening committee vote, Ross voted no to the bill that passed 33 to 25, which earned him aggressive responses from environmental, low income, health and labor groups.
Ross a member of the powerful U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, was one of four Democrats to join Republicans in voting against the American Clean Energy and Security Act. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Cal.) and Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) introduced H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act designed to overhaul U.S. energy and global warming policy, create clean energy jobs and help reduce dependence on foreign oil.
"Today the Committee took decisive and historic action to promote America's energy security and to create millions of clean energy jobs that will drive our economic recovery and long-term growth," Chairman Waxman said. "This bill, when enacted into law this year, will break our dependence on foreign oil, make our nation the world leader in clean energy jobs and technology, and cut global warming pollution. I am grateful to my colleagues who supported this legislation and to President Obama for his outstanding leadership on these critical issues." Unfortunately, Ross was not one of those colleagues.
Subcommittee Chairman Markey highlighted the overwhelming support the bill has already received from across the United States as well as in the state of Arkansas. Recently, Audubon Arkansas concluded statewide polling, including Ross’s 4th district, which showed an overwhelming 87 percent of his constituents favor the creation of clean energy jobs and new investments in renewable and alternative energy.
While Ross continuously expressed concern for the interest of Arkansas, his arguments were often irrelevant or severely misinformed. Many constituents now consider Ross to be a road block to Arkansas clean energy future and new economic opportunities. The renewable energy market is the largest gaining industry in Arkansas now and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. More than 3,000 new jobs have already been created in Arkansas because of a strong renewable energy sector.
“I’m really disappointed. I’ve never seen a greater effort from Arkansans to work together with an elected official on something so important, only to be let down in the end,” said Rob Fisher, Executive Director of Ecological Conservation Organization and member of the Governor’s Global Warming Commission. “Unfortunately Rep. Ross’ vote failed to represent Arkansans, particularly our children and grandchildren who will have to deal with most of the impacts of global warming. What’s really disappointing is that his vote did represent special interests.”
In fact, during his Congressional career Ross has accepted $290,000 in campaign contributions from oil and utility industries according to the Center for Responsive Politics. http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/industries.php?cycle=Career&cid=N00009571
“Regardless of the economic situation we find ourselves in, this is the most important moment for our future, and as a small business owner, I know about that first hand,” said Kathy Webb, State Representative for District 37 and co-chair of Gov. Mike Beebe’s Global Warming Commission. “Inaction now will cost us much more later, and we simply can’t afford the reoccurring interest we are running up by not taking action now. The issue of climate change is the issue of our time, and we need leaders who are willing to stand up and do the right thing.”