Visit puts focus on energy
U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., was in Klamath Falls Tuesday as part of a congressional district tour that will send him to meetings with local officials and constituents.
Most of the 30-plus meetings and engagements the federal lawmaker will attend the next two weeks will revolve around alternative energy and global warming and what Oregonians are doing to combat growing energy costs and a potential environmental crisis.
“For the Northwest, it proposes some unique problems and possibilities,” he said.
Walden was one of the Republicans appointed to a select subcommittee on global warming and energy independence.
The committee is charged with investigating evidence connected to global warming and how to decrease the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.
A recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to monitor carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions stresses the importance of alternative energies and the federal government’s vast forest lands, Walden said.
Woodlands are considered a carbon sink and can help offset the emissions of industrial operations around the state. Construction using lumber instead of steel and cement also puts fewer greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, providing a potential impetus for sustainable timber harvesting, he said.
The growth of the biofuels industry is an encouraging development, Walden said, as the nation looks to cut its dependence on foreign oil and environmental impacts. He also stressed it is important that hydroelectric power continue to provide as much energy as possible because it is cleaner than any other method.
While the nation is beginning to embrace the concept of “green” industry and economics, Walden said that how we proceed in pursuing those ideals is critical. If regulations to monitor greenhouse gases become too harsh, such as a cap on carbon dioxide emissions, that move could drive industry outside the country to places that don’t set such strict measures.