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Congress Still an Obstacle

Amidst all the attention surrounding the upcoming presidential election, it seems as though Congress has been exempt from criticism surrounding the environment.

This could be in part due to the extremely low public approval ratings of Congress which contribute to apathy, and the recognition of certain powerful members of Congress being unwilling to do anything about the environment.

For whatever reasons, Congress has been flying under the radar as of late, which is frequently a bad thing. As expected, members of Congress took this opportunity to get controversial measures passed, especially through the House of Representatives.

Led by U.S. Representative Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced legislation that would cancel the federal loan given to solar energy firm Solyndra, which was approved by President Obama, but vetted by Former President G.W. Bush.

Granted, giving $535 million to a company that declared for bankruptcy shortly before the loan doesn’t look good, but it appears the issue is less of a bankruptcy concern, and more of a rejection of renewable energy progress. The official reasons for attempting to terminate the loan have been financial, with Upton saying in a statement in the beginning of August, “This bill recognizes both our current fiscal challenges and our understanding that the federal government is ill-suited to be gambling the taxpayers’ dollars with this sort of company-specific investment.”

It is difficult to believe that Rep. Upton and others on the committee don’t have ulterior motives though.

Unfortunately, fiscal challenges is an easy scapegoat to hide behind, and even more unfortunate is there is a systematic approach in skeptics to stop renewable energy in its tracks and maintain the status quo of oil and gas dependence. However, it doesn’t appear this legislation or similar legislation will get anywhere near President Obama’s desk, and renewable energy will be an extremely important goal for the Obama administration.

Although, it is helpful to be reminded Congress can have just as big of role in the legislative process as the president, which can result in status quo over progress.

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