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Energy conference convenes

By JEAN-PAUL ARGUELLO
On April 16, 2009

Anh "Joseph" Cao made a brief appearance at a town hall meeting on Wednesday evening discussing what legislators are doing to further climate change reform, stop coastal erosion and develop clean energy projects sooner than later.

After giving an opening statement and answering one question on whether or not he supported the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, for which congressional hearings will begin next Tuesday, he stated that he had another meeting to attend and rose from his seat.

"I am concerned about global warming and I believe that it is an issue that needs to be addressed. ... I can't vote [on] the bill without knowing specific details what position that I'm going to have. But again, I am ... open and I hope the country - that we will reach our goal of being energy independent and to basically have an economy that will encompass the green jobs that we basically want," said Cao, right before he said that he must leave to go to another appointment.

The panel discussed a wide range of issues concerning global warming legislation, but many of the questions collected from the attendees were directed towards Cao. Among the panelists was New Orleans councilwoman Shelly Midura, Sarah Mack, president of Tierra Resources LLC, Monique Harden, co-director of Advocates for Environmental Human Rights, and John Barry, author of Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America.

The panel focused more on what legislators are doing about global warming legislation. One of the major points that Mack made throughout the discussion and is written into the proposed American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 is emission trading.

Emission trading aims to reduce greenhouse gas pollution by offering incentives for companies that pollute less and places a limit to how much a company can pollute before they must pay penalties, according to the bill.

Mack also spoke about using the wetlands as a ‘carbon-sink,' a radically new concept that would use the wetlands to absorb the carbon dioxide emissions given off by local oil refineries and plants.

Midura explained how difficult it is to get energy legislation passed, referencing a bill voted on last year to grant government subsidized loans to homeowners to weatherize their homes and to install solar panels.

"Last year we tried to get in an energy bill - we were talking about a dollar per household to fund it - and I didn't have the votes to pass it," said Midura.

Jean Paul Arguello can be reached at jarguell@loyno.edu.

 


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