Feingold, in a surprising move, is voicing skepticism of the “Cap and Trade” bill moving through Congress.
“I’m not signing onto any bill that rips off Wisconsin,” Feingold declared, arguing the bill’s mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions could put the coal-dependent Badger State at an economic disadvantage compared to other regions and nations.
That position runs contrary to both his party leadership and the Obama administration, which recently dispatched Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to Saginaw, Mich., to meet with Govs. Jennifer Granholm and Jim Doyle on the energy bill. Doyle came away from the clean energy economic forum convinced that cap and trade would “put some octane, so to speak, in the green energy economy.”
Feingold, who is generally very straightforward in discussing his positions, nevertheless was “troubled” by how many of his constituents refused to accept the science behind global warming.
Although Feingold is perhaps the most effective intellectual liberal in Washington, he has always been in very close touch with his constituents and their interests. He sticks up for dairy farmers on trade deals and was a big proponent of investing in a variety of public works in Wisconsin with stimulus money. However, this position he’s taking is too provincial. If Wisconsin is overly reliant on coal, than there’s going to be a painful day when the reliance is going to be broken, and unless Feingold proposes an alternative to reduce emissions, we might have to pay more than some other states.
Also, the point of the Cap and Trade legislation is that the United States is taking a step that some other countries probably won’t. India and China are not going to take the environmental steps that we should take to reduce fuel emissions, but as members of the developed world, it is our duty to lead, especially given our awful track record environmentally vis-a-vis other first world nations.