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Roe should support people’s choice

Not unlike the invocations in the Catholic all-saints litany, the e-newsletters by U.S. Rep. Phil Roe (TN-01)have some constant refrains.
No matter the type of issue involved — economic recovery, job creation, education, greater energy independence for America — the answers call for “ending outrageous, wasteful Washington spending.”
They urge a lowering of environmental protections since seen as “burdensome” and stifling of business success.
They invariably demand the gutting of discretionary spending, as of government revenue through cutting taxes.
A cited example of “reckless Washington spending” is an $893 million renovation cost, over a dozen years, for an historic government complex on Constitution Avenue, the Herbert C. Hoover Department of Commerce Building.
Erected in 1932 as the country’s largest federal building, six stories high with six courtyards and 1.8 million square feet of floor area, the building shares some space with the National Park Service and the National Aquarium.
Its renovation and modernization involve the upgrading of electrical and mechanical systems to current industry standards, including high energy efficiency, the strengthening of perimeter security systems and adaptations to comply with access requirements for the disabled.
Few Americans, one might think, would agree with the judgment that preserving a magnificent historic building such as this represents a “nonsense stimulus project.”
Sad to note, as well, is lack of acknowledgement that the renovation decision dates to the previous administration, the current administration merely honoring a commitment for it made in 2007.
Roe’s plan for a more energy independent America seeks the expansion of nuclear power primarily, and of natural gas and coal.
Coal being the country’s most abundant energy source, it notes, increasing its use “will also facilitate job growth.”
The new, alternative sources like wind, solar, biomass and others it states to have little accessibility, or commercial viability, for years to come “at best.”
In this important matter as well, Roe’s judgment seems uninformed and out of sync with the American people.
An opinion poll by the Civil Society Institute this month found more than three out of four Americans favoring clean, renewable energy resources such as wind and solar, and increased energy efficiency, as alternative to more nuclear power.
Regarding job creation, renewable sources far surpass nuclear energy, as European “socialist” countries — Roe’s term — earned long ago.
Wind power, for example, these found, generates 10 times as many jobs as nuclear power does and four times as many as coal generation, per share of the electricity market.
A May report from the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts confirms similar employment advantages for green industries here.
Per $1 million spending, it finds solar and wind energy generate more than 13 full-time equivalent jobs while coal-related jobs number less than seven and nuclear-energy jobs only four.
The goal of energy independence involves looking forward, not backward, the Congressman states.
The forward-looking action, however, would be to support administration efforts toward green-energy expansion, not their constant denigrating and blocking.