By Wendy Patton, Senior Associate, Policy Matters Ohio/Ohio Apollo Alliance
Last year, as the Mississippi swamped the heartland (again) and Hurricane Ike ravaged a surprised Midwest, insurance companies ramped up investment in climate modeling and the Senate debated comprehensive climate legislation. In fact, the concern about climate has been developing for years. The Senate has held more than 40 days of hearings with more than 300 witnesses during the past two Congresses. Change is upon us, and has been for some time.
Change is nothing new to the Steel Belt, where producers of widgets and gadgets evolve into information system architects, and where coal miners retrain to become nurses. Our economic history has forced us to seek opportunity. This is a competitive advantage.
Federal climate legislation under consideration in the House of Representatives offers the kind of opportunity we need to build on this competitive advantage. H.R. 2454, The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, would raise revenues from pollution to invest in energy efficiency and drive demand for components to produce wind and solar energy and fuel-efficient vehicles. Manufacturers in the Steel Belt and across the nation are poised to capture that demand.