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Tom Perriello | Fifth District Report

Last week, the U.S. House passed historic legislation to create millions of new jobs in the clean energy economy and increase our national security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil. I supported the American Clean Energy and Security Act because I believe it is a necessary step in declaring our energy independence and creating the energy jobs and technology of the future right here at home.  

America can still out-innovate any other country on earth, and we cannot give in to those who doubt America’s ability to lead once more. Perhaps once in a generation we have the opportunity to revolutionize our economy in a way that creates for future generations the kind of jobs and opportunities that we inherited through the sacrifices of our parents. With this legislation, we reverse not only the hemorrhaging of energy sector jobs, but also the flood of our citizens’ dollars to those who would threaten our security.

I know that many families are concerned about the effect this legislation will have on your energy costs. Unfortunately, there has been a lot of misrepresentation of the cost of this bill. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the official agency that measures costs of federal legislation, the bill is estimated to cost the average Fifth District family only $12 per month – or 40 cents per day – a cost that could be offset by any household that reduces its energy. Also, there are an estimated 62,000 households in the Fifth District who will see a net income gain as a result of the consumer protection provisions in the legislation.

Freedom isn’t free. Since September 11th our leaders have asked everything of our military families and very little of the rest of us. Therefore, families can choose to sacrifice $12 per month for national security or adjust the thermostat one degree.

Southside Virginia will be one of the winners under this bill, accelerating its ascendance to being the future energy capital of Virginia. In a carbon-constrained economy, we will see a resurgence of nuclear power. We can convert former tobacco farms into future biomass producers. And we can see farm and municipal waste turned into power. This bill, particularly the elements those of us from rural districts negotiated, will spur investments in biomass fuels that can flourish on former tobacco farms.

The bill will also empower farmers, ranchers and forestland owners to fully participate in a market-based carbon offset program, earning income for activities they undertake to address global climate change. Another important provision of the bill is that it will close the “Enron loophole” that has allowed for energy companies to artificially drive up oil prices through speculation.

This bill will also advance America’s national security over petro-dictators by reducing our dependence on foreign oil. It will promote America’s innovation over the erosion of our jobs. It demands American leadership rather than settling for a slow slide behind India, China and other competitors. If I have to choose between protecting our nation or protecting my popularity, I will choose our great Nation every time. I voted for this bill for America’s security, her innovative spirit, good jobs for our citizens, and the future of our country.

Please feel free to contact me to share your concerns and ideas. You may call 888.4.TOM4US (888.486.6487); write to 1520 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515; or visit to sign up for my weekly e-newsletter.


Tom Perriello represents the Fifth District in the United States House of Representatives.