Local environmental entrepreneurs take their case to Washington

He says cap-and-trade is "good for the world," emphasizing how its utilized as a market in Europe that allows the right to emit greenhouse gases by offering permits.  Over time the government would then reduce the supply of permits to reduce the amount of gases emitted.


On legislation paving the way for green jobs that would aid companies like his,  Alberts says "it's amazing how quickly these emerging technologies are opening up.  The more people get involved with it, the better the technology out there, I welcome that."


But their journey comes when the tide may be turning against a cap-and-trade bill in Congress.  On Tuesday, President Obama, speaking in New Hampshire, said for the first time that a cap-and-trade bill might need to be decoupled from a more popular green jobs bill in the Senate.  The quote was "The only thing I would say about it is this:  We may be able to separate these things out.  And it's possible that that's where the Senate ends up."


The Wall Street Journal reports that isolating the cap-and-trade proposal would make it easier for those Democrats who oppose putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions to pull aside from a climate bill:


On Tuesday, two senior House Democrats—Reps. Ike Skelton of Missouri, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and Collin Peterson of Minnesota, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee—introduced legislation to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse-gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. In a written statement, Mr. Skelton called for setting aside legislation already passed by the House to cap greenhouse-gas emissions, and instead passing "scaled-back energy legislation" that could command greater support in both parties.


"We cannot tolerate turning over the regulation of greenhouse-gas emissions to unelected bureaucrats at EPA," Mr. Skelton said.


One possibility for Senate Democrats is to push forward with a bill already approved by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources that would require electric utilities nationwide to generate 15% of their electricity supplies through renewable resources, with some portion met by energy efficiency measures, by 2021. The bill would also open the Eastern Gulf of Mexico to leasing and exploration for oil and gas, and establish energy efficiency standard for table and floor lamps.


Over a dozen local business officials flew to Washington on Wednesday to meet with Florida lawmakers, urging them to pass comprehensive clean energy and climate change policies.

John Ferrari is with DwellGreen, a Sarasota based company that does home performance evaluations.  He says the message he wants to bring to Florida Senators Bill Nelson and George LeMieux is that  "the time is now and we as a country cannot wait any longer for legislation that includes a carbon cap on emissions."  Ferrari charges that the U.S. is at a pivotal point when it comes to getting behind alternative energy sources, asking, "do we want to be seen as a world leader?  If we don't do anything, the Chinese will carve out to be a leader on this, which would be a shame.  We have all the ingredients, we just have to act."

Dan Alberts is with Conduit2Green, a St. Petersburg based company that provides energy saving, power correction, and LED lighting products to residential, commercial and industrial customers.

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