Kline on Earth Day

by Dave Mindeman

Back in July of 2009, Congressman Kline penned an op-ed piece about the proposed Cap and Trade legislation. There are couple of things about that piece that are relevant as we celebrate Earth Day on this April 22nd.

First, a minor point but goes to relevancy, (as my lawyer wife might say):

Having helped manage a farm in southeastern Minnesota that has been in my wife Vicky’s family for five generations, I recognize and appreciate the challenges faced by Midwest farmers.

Somehow it is hard for me to visualize the good Colonel atop a tractor plowing a field or cultivating soybeans. When Kline says “manage”, I think we can assume it isn’t really hands on. But politicians like to make connections with the “average” person in any way they can. Yes, Kline owns/manages a farm. Would he know what a field hand goes through? Doubt it. Checking receipts with a recycled pencil is about as close to observing Earth Day as Kline gets on that farm of his.

But here is the main point of Kline’s argument:

Republicans and Democrats agree it is important to find clean, efficient energy sources that will break our dependence on foreign oil. But our nation needs a diversified, “all of the above” energy policy that increases domestic energy production, embraces renewable and alternative fuels, and supports conservation efforts to reduce energy consumption. Most importantly, Congress must work together to achieve these goals in ways that do not raise costs for you and family farms throughout the Midwest.

Now, Kline is all for increasing domestic energy production. He was very vocal when gas prices were up. Drill baby drill. Offshore drilling was a high priority in Kline’s agenda. That, of course, was the same year that ExxonMobil reported those obsence (and standing record) profits.

Frankly, that is the only part of Kline’s argument that he supports with action. Conservation? Oh yes, he kind of encourages it — but what has he done legislatively to bring about incentives in that regard? And alternative fuels? Well, the Kline vernacular for “alternative” is nuclear power. Unrestricted and full speed ahead nuclear power. But outside of keeping ethanol subsidies intact (which isn’t quite so green anymore), Kline hasn’t supported other alternatives. He talks about it….a lot. But real action? not there.

I wonder what Kline does on Earth Day?….or as Kline calls it – Thursday.

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