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AN ACT OF THE PEOPLE?

I have a few comments to make about "It Takes an Act of Congress" in HP130. While I must applaud Michael Welch on a devotion to cleaning up the environment, I think that his column could have been improved on a few points.

First, Mitch McConnell is from Kentucky and Robert Byrd is from West Virginia (not vice versa). Not a big deal, but when you see a simple mistake like that, you start questioning the rest of the article. The second issue is his rant about the stimulus package, which is somewhat misleading. Michael chastised the House Republicans for voting against the stimulus bill despite "overwhelming public support." Excuse me? Thinking I missed something, I did a little research. I found two Rasmussen polls: one, conducted January 21, showed 45% support; another (February 4) showed 37% support. The CBS and Gallup polls from February 5 showed somewhat more support at 51%, but I would hardly call that "overwhelming."

While I would hope that all Americans care about a clean environment, there is a major difference between activism and politics. While an activist can be passionate about a single issue, a politician does not have that luxury. There are many issues that are interrelated. And do not forget that members of the House represent the people of their state. The people of California, for example, probably have a different set of priorities than, say, the people of Kentucky. If you represent the people of a coal-producing state, it may be hard to vote for a bill that may bring increased unemployment to your state. And let's face it, for many people, putting food on the table is their first concern, and everything else is secondary.

I do not write this because I want to defend the coal industry, since they have worked pretty hard to put profits before people and the environment. Nor do I wish to defend politicians.

I am an independent because I am equally disgusted with the abuses of power by both the Republicans and Democrats. I just ask that people keep things in perspective.

Thanks for your comments, AJ. It is true that politicians need to be multi-issue, but it sure is a travesty to see how much sway corporate contributions and bevies of influential corporate lobbyists have over our legislators and in shaping our nation's energy issues.

Michael Welch • Home Power

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