Elections

Loebsack encourages Clinton to increase use of renewable energy sources

Iowa 2nd District Rep. Dave Loebsack, center, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, discusses energy policy July 27, 2016, at a forum in Philadelphia where he attending the Democratic National Convention. James Q. Lynch/The Gazette
Iowa 2nd District Rep. Dave Loebsack, center, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, discusses energy policy July 27, 2016, at a forum in Philadelphia where he attending the Democratic National Convention. James Q. Lynch/The Gazette

PHILADELPHIA — Increasing America’s use of renewable energy, especially biofuels, should be a top priority for Hillary Clinton should she move into the White House in January, Iowa 2nd District Rep. Dave Loebsack Wednesday.

It would be good for the environment and the economy, not to mention good for Iowa, Loebsack said during a panel discussion of energy-related issues in Philadelphia where he is attending the Democratic National Convention.

Not only does he want to see biofuels use increased to the volumes specified by Congress, but Loebsack called for undoing the five-year phaseout of tax credits for wind and solar.

“We need to make sure those industries can stand on their own,” he said.

Loebsack, an Iowa City Democrat who serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, offered his views along with other current and former elected officials and regulators at a forum hosted by Politico and sponsored by Vote4Energy.com, a voter education project of the American Petroleum Institute, which is a trade association for the oil and gas industry.

“Also, we need to be sure that we don’t continue to help the fossil fuel industry with special tax breaks,” Loebsack said. “It’s not a level playing field. We’ve got to make it a level playing.”

That’s not likely unless Democrats “somehow were able to take over the House, not just the Senate,” he said.

He called it a false choice when people play energy against the environment.

“In Iowa, when it comes to the environment and jobs, there is not a trade-off,” Loebsack said. “If we can continue to do what we do on the renewable fuels front, it’s good for the environment, it’s good for the economy, it’s good for jobs. We don’t have to make a choice between working for the environment and good jobs. We can have both in Iowa. We have had that.”

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In response to a question about climate change as a voting issue, Loebsack said it bothers him when people ask whether he believes in climate change.

“It’s like it’s some sort of faith,” he said. “It’s reality.”

However, moving from fossil fuel, which scientists say contributes to climate change, to clean energy will not happen overnight and the government must do everything it can to provide incentives for renewable energy.

“We can’t just flip a switch,” Loebsack said. “It won’t change overnight because the politics aren’t there for it to change overnight.”

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