Brian Baird is up to his usual Brian Bairdness: From Brad Shannon at The Olympian:
H.R. 2454, also known as the American Clean Energy and Security Act, is a sweeping measure that puts a cap on carbon-fuel emissions, something the state Legislature couldn’t muster this year. H.R. 2454 sets goals for reducing emissions by 2020 and 2050, setting up a framework for a cap-and-trade system of pollution credits.
But Baird, a Democrat from the 3rd Congressional District that takes in southwest Washington and quite a bit of logging country, said yesterday he doesn’t yet support it because of biomass-energy jobs he thinks it will thwart, as written. Baird also said he’d rather see a tax on carbon containing fuels than a cap-and-trade system, which lets companies sell off pollution credits if they meet standards and have capacity.
Baird made these comments during his stop in Olympia to check out a local economic-stimulus project:
“People dispute this, but when you read the language carefully it does what I’m going to say … It effectively prohibits use of dead and diseased trees from most federal land to be used for either renewable fuel or renewable energy standards. We have millions of acres of tinder dry, bug-infested forests in the Northwest, a 75-year backlog of forest health efforts,” Baird said.
“…Last year in our state, more CO2 went into the air from forest fires than from cars and power plants combined. If we don’t take that wood out, forest health will be impaired and forest fires will be more severe. As we speak stimulus money is being used to pay jobs in the woods to thin and remove dead trees. Do you know what they are doing with that wood? … Piling it up and burning it. Honest. Now if you’re seriously concerned about greenhouse gases you might want to turn it into wood pallets or methanol or some other thing.”
Wow, it’s interesting that Baird would bring up power plants. Why, there’s gigantic coal operation right here in WA-03! Well, there is when they aren’t laying people off after getting massive tax breaks.
Again from Shannon’s post at The Olympian:
Baird has recently won re-election with ease, and neither Doglio nor Bob Guenther, president of the Lewis-Thurston- Mason Central Labor Council, thinks Baird is in any danger by supporting the bill. On the contrary, Doglio said, “I think voting against it he could lose some of his base.”
Guenther is a member of the Gifford-Pinchot partnership that has brought business, environmental and labor interests together in a search for common ground in the national forest along the southern Cascades. Members of the group are examining H.R. 2454 to see what effect it could have on their stewardship efforts, which are designed to create jobs and create energy out of wood waste.
Look, way, way back in the day I used to run into Guenther, and he’s a good guy, so don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against him.
But it’s kind of odd nobody even mentioned the TransAlta coal operations in the context of this legislation, when it’s in Baird’s district and Guenther is a long-time labor leader in Centralia. Forest fires happen, and that’s an issue, but it’s not the same issue. The planet really doesn’t care about district politics in WA-03.