Energy Smart Scott

Amid skyrocketing oil, gasoline, coal, and electricity (coming to a neighborhood near you) prices, 2008 offers Americans quite serious and stark choices between knowledgeable, impassioned, and thoughtful candidates when it comes to finding paths toward a prosperous 21st century economy, on the one side, and Fossil-Fool candidates focused on tightening our shackles to the ever-more costly (pollution, financial, otherwise) and archaic oil-coal based energy system.

One of these stark choices comes in Nebraska , where Scott Kleeb is facing down with Mike Johanns.

Scott was an easy choice for membership in the ranks of the Energy Smart Act Blue page. Join me after the fold for some indications as to why.

First the List

The Energy Smart Act Blue page focuses on challengers who offer an opportunity to change the discussion and votes when it comes to energy and environmental issues in Congress. (For a more complete discussion.) In some cases, these are incredibly “Energy Smart” candidates; in other cases, their opponents are incredibly Energy/Earth Dumb, and, actually, they are mainly both at the same time. What is the Energy Smart Act Blue’s core principle?

All of the candidates on this list will help foster a Congress and political climate conducive for more meaningful action toward a Prosperous, Climate Friendly America through dealing with the challenges of Peak Oil and Global Warming.

When it comes to Energy and environmental issues, to be clear, a wide gulf separates Johanns and Kleeb.  This is a quite clear case of Energy Dumb Mike promoting a program of reckless endangerment of America’s welfare and Americans’ future while Energy Smart Scott is providing a pathway forward toward a prosperouls, climate-friendly America.

Energy Dumb Mike

Mike Johanns is a climate delayer, pushing policies that will worsen the situation in the near term while pushing solutions out to the right. “The right approach puts research dollars into an effort to better understand climate change without hammering consumers.” Yes, let’s put off action, mischaracterize the situation, and clothe this in misleading and deceptive use of false statistics.  Mike was a critical go-to guy for that great experiment of corn-based ethanol.  Not surprising, Mike is a big booster of dilling.  “The nation must achieve energy independence by drilling for oil while developing alternatives, former Gov. Mike Johanns told the Nebraska Republican Party State Convention on Saturday in La Vista” in mid-July. Never mind that that drilling would have close to no impact before 2030, Mike joins the Republican cavalcade of disingenuity to outright dishonesty on this issue. While Mike talks the talk, in some ways, about a holistic response to our challenges, his leading jab is a dishonest claim that drilling will do something for consumers in the near term and his dangerous hook is engagement in climate delay to prevent meaningful change in our society to deal with Global Warming.

Energy Smart Scott

In face of that, Scott had me at:

We also face the moral test of our lifetime in combating climate change and achieving true energy independence. We must solve these problems together, as Nebraskans always have.

Scott, a four-generation Nebraskan who wrote his PhD dissertation on the history of American cattle ranching (yes, that is Dr. Scott, as long as you’re not suffering a heart attack).   He has a hands-on appreciation for the environment, having worked his way through college as a cattle hand.  He has also worked in the United Nations Policy Planning and Analysis Unit.  Certainly, there aren’t many experienced ranch hands who have worked with that crowd.  Back in Nebraska, he works as the director of operations for a Nebraska beef company that “promotes locally-grown food and responsible business practices”.

As a candidate, perhaps surprisingly, Scott doesn’t have a separate energy or environmental issues page. Perhaps that’s because these issues are embedded within his policies. For example, re the economy:

Research and Development: In both clean fuel technologies and green collar jobs, America has an opportunity to not only develop a new energy economy, and drive down costs for consumers but also give millions of Americans new high-wage jobs that reward efficiency, redevelop our infrastructure, and most importantly, cannot be exported overseas.

Good, Green jobs that improve the economy while improving the environment.

Scott speaks to environmental and global warming issues with an ease and understanding would put many “environmentalists” to shame.  But it starts from the core:

Q. What inspired you to start working on environmental issues?

A. The most obvious is that I have two little girls … [E]ach of us is asking, what type of world do we want them to inherit? If we do something [to avert] the doomsday scenario, if we think about the upside of the world they could inherit — not just environmentally but economically and in terms of national security too — we’ve got to diversify the energy supply in this country so we’re more able to withstand system shocks. Right now, we’ve got a system shock on oil and we’re tied specifically to oil, which is why it’s had such a tremendous impact across our economy. Think about the security they’ll have in both their food supply and energy supply if we get to a sustainable food production model where it’s much more localized production, and things she could potentially inherit and if I could work toward those things and I could help her to get those things and to live and operate in that world, then I have to. It’s as simple as that.

Where does this come from? It comes from my parents taking me out. My dad and I used to hike around the mountains for weeks on end. Living outdoors, going hunting, enjoying sitting by a river. I went around for more than a year and visited every national park and monument west of the Mississippi in my pickup. When you’re sitting there in Glacier National Park and the guy is telling you that there’s not going to be glaciers in 20 years — it’s a bit of a problem.

That June interview with Energy Smart Scott is worth a read in the entirety.  Read it and you’ll walk away understanding he is a man with a sophisticated understanding of the challenges we face and the opportunities we have.  We don’t agree on every issue but his is a voice that will provide a positive boost to the discussion in Washington on energy and environmental issues.

When it comes to this November, Americans face quite serious and stark choices between knowledgeable, impassioned, and thoughtful candidates when it comes to finding paths toward a prosperous 21st century economy, on the one side, and, on the other, Fossil-Fool candidates focused on tightening our shackles to the ever-more costly (pollution, financial, otherwise) and archaic oil-coal based energy system. Scott vs Mike. Will Nebraskans choose the future or the past when it comes time to punch the ballot? We know what the Energy Smart ones will do.

Some Other Candidates with Real Energy Smarts:

Debbie Cook, CA-46

Jeff Merkley, OR-Senate