The Dernogalizer

June 28, 2009

Steny Hoyer Remarks on Climate Bill

My representative Steny Hoyer, who is also the House Majority Leader, made these remarks on the Waxman-Markey climate bill that was passed Friday evening.  This video was directed to me as one of the best arguments that took place on the House floor for support.  Although he gave good stances in the clean energy town hall meeting that hosted Hoyer which I helped organize, this is definitely the best I’ve ever heard Steny Hoyer on the need for action.

May 12, 2009

Steny Hoyer Town Hall

I’ve had a lot of posts recently about my Congressman House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and the Clean Energy Town Hall Meeting on May 11th.  So the moment of truth finally arrived!  While I’m sure there will be more media to post, I’m going to reveal what I’ve seen thus far.  First, Holly of CCAN had a post about the Town Hall, and she has her own insight on the meeting.  CCAN also has a video of the Town Hall, in case you want to check it out.  Next, the Diamondback has an article out about the meeting today, which I felt portrayed the meeting accurately, although didn’t mention the speakers before Hoyer.  I got quoted too, and didn’t embarass myself too much.  One thing Holly and I definitely agree on is the question of the night by a member of my student group UMD for Clean Energy, Jesse Yurow.  If you see a politician asked ANY question this year, you have see this one.  It’s right after the 1 hour mark on the video.  We went over it in our student group meeting and he showed me what he had on his notecard before the town hall started.  I knew it was going to be good if he got to ask.  

The question combined the fact that efforts to develop clean coal technology had failed, that the extraction of coal is destructive, and whether or not Congressman Hoyer would support a moratorium on new coal plants.  This was followed by the entire audience roaring in applause.  Now Hoyer doesn’t support this, and he said so, but I could tell it was tough for him.  Picture is below.

 

          This is the look on Hoyer’s face….

All in all, this was a succesful meeting.  There were 250-300 people attending, the speakers did a great job, and the audience got in a few great questions.  The only unfortunate part was that the Congressman was supposed to talk for 15 minutes, but he rambled for 30 and there wasn’t as much time to ask questions as we would’ve liked.  Still, despite our differences I’m very gracious that Steny Hoyer took the time out of his busy schedule to come to our campus and participate in this meeting.  I’m going to likely have further analysis of this meeting, as well as more media and pictuteres.  I will hold off on that stuff until the weekend.

**Update 5/13/09**  More Media

May 10, 2009

Livestream of Steny Hoyer Town Hall Meeting

So I’m sure you’ve noticed I’ve blogged A LOT about the Clean Energy Town Hall meeting I’ve had a lead role in organizing.  Congressman Steny Hoyer is also the House Majority Leader, which makes him one of the most powerful men in the country.   He has a big say over what the climate change bill looks like.  The main point is if you live in Maryland, you should to the meeting come if you can(you can find the details in many places in the above link).  If you don’t live in Maryland, well originally I would’ve had to say too bad.  But now, if you can’t make it to this huge event, you can watch it LIVE online at 6:30 pm, Monday May 11!  This might seem standard to some people, but if I can successfully pull off the live feed, this will be the first live broadcast on The Dernogalizer!  If I fail miserably(and it looks like the html is flipping me off), CCAN has a feed as well.  Also, if you’re watching, look for a young guy in a suit holding a microphone in front of people who ask questions.  That would be me.

Live TV : Ustream

April 11, 2009

Steny Hoyer

There is a great op-ed out today by my Congressman and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on the importance of a smart grid for energy conservation, energy savings, renewable energy, and fighting climate change. It’s a very good sign out of Hoyer’s office, and shows that Hoyer has the right mindset and ideas when it comes to these issues. I’m going to post the entire op-ed after I make a few comments about Hoyer.

I made a post a couple of weeks ago about how House Democrats had introduced a climate bill. I also stressed at the end the importance of pressuring House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on the climate bill, and how I was organizing a town hall meeting on May 11 to talk with him about it. Here is what I said:

“I also want to take this chance to put in a plug for an event occurring in Maryland. My Congressman is Steny Hoyer, who also happens to be the House Majority Leader, making him one of the most powerful politicians in the country. He is going to be responsible for rallying the conservative Democrats on that committee and on the House floor to support a strong climate bill. On Monday May 11th from 6:30 to 8 pm, Steny Hoyer will be attending the University of Maryland campus to participate in a Clean Energy Town Hall Meeting. The room location is to be determined shortly. This climate bill that Markey and Waxman have introduced is going to be marked up and written in the month of May. It’s Waxman’s goal to have the bill out of committee by Memorial Day. This is probably the best chance for all of us in Maryland and in Hoyer’s district to influence what this bill is going to look like. Contact me if you’re interested in going at mdernoga@umd.edu

Don’t miss it for the world.”

In case you want to register for the event, you can do it on the facebook group webpage, or you can go here

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Viewpoint: ‘Smart grid,’ big savings

It’s the principle behind every clearance sale: The less a product is in demand, the less it sells for. So why can’t we extend the same principle to one of the most basic commodities of all – electricity?

The demand for electricity fluctuates every day. It tends to be highest in the afternoon (when people are at work and when lights, computers and heating and cooling are running at full blast) and lowest at night. But most people can’t take full advantage of the lowest-demand hours, because homes can’t “talk back” to utilities. Your home and your utility still have a primitive way of communicating: a meter that can’t do more than spin faster or slower.

Imagine, though, that your home knew the cost of power from second to second. Imagine that it could tell you that power’s source, from a coal-fired plant to a wind farm. Imagine that you could sell electricity back to the grid. Those steps add up to one of the biggest energy innovations on the horizon: the “smart grid,” or what author Thomas L. Friedman calls the “Energy Internet.”

When energy is combined with real-time communication, you’ll be able to load your dryer and dishwasher before you go to sleep but program them to start only when electricity hits its lowest price. You’ll be able charge your car battery at night and then sell back excess power after work, or you could sell the energy you harvest from your own solar panel. During storms, the sources of power outages will be easier to pinpoint, and your lights will come back on faster. And by selecting the best times to use clean power sources, your utility will be able to shrink its carbon footprint.

These steps could save you hundreds of dollars a year and help us all use energy more efficiently, getting more output from fewer plants and expanding our use of renewable resources.

And these advances are coming sooner than you may think. President Barack Obama and Congress have designed an economic recovery plan that paves the way for future growth by investing in some of our country’s most important long-term priorities. Upgrading our grid is one of the most promising of those investments. That’s why the recovery plan sets aside $4.5 billion, in the form of cost-shared grants, to match smart grid investments by utilities. With many utilities already planning on upgrades, this federal support will reduce the costs they would pass on to consumers.

Creating a smart grid means updating everything from home meters and appliances to transmission and distribution lines and communication systems. It will be a piecemeal process, because America has many regional electric systems, some using the latest technology, and some getting by with infrastructure that dates back to the New Deal.

Parts of Maryland, such as Bethesda and Fort Washington, are ready to upgrade distribution and meters; other regions, such as parts of Southern and Western Maryland, may need line upgrades first. In that respect, we’re a microcosm of America, and we can’t afford to leave either kind of region behind. We can’t install smart meters in some homes while we leave others dependent on decades-old lines. Energy independence and climate change are national challenges, and we can only face them by improving efficiency everywhere.

We know that completing the smart grid will take a sustained commitment, but we also know that it will mean jobs for American workers today, and cheaper energy and a cleaner environment tomorrow.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer of Southern Maryland is the majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives.

December 9, 2008

Column on Climate Legislation

So I have my weekly column out today. Due to word constraints, I couldn’t tell people what they can do over the next year to make a difference. The best move could be to find out who your Congressman and US Senators are, depending on where you live. Then at the least make a phone call and write a letter telling them what you want. Scheduling a lobby meeting with their office would be great as well.

In Maryland, the main target should be Steny Hoyer since he is the House Majority Leader. It’s a very powerful postion responsible for setting the legislative agenda, and being the deal broker on votes for a bill. If you live in his district, do everything you can to let him know you want to him to make climate change legislation a priority. His website with contact info is below, as well as my column.

http://media.www.diamondbackonline.com/media/storage/paper873/news/2008/12/09/Opinion/Climate.Change.It.Has.To.Start.At.Home-3575122.shtml

http://hoyer.house.gov/

The latest round of United Nations climate talks is coming to a close in the next few days in Poznan, Poland. These negotiations, taking place between countries all around the world, are going to lay the foundation for a final deal to be made at the end of 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The need for a strong treaty involving both developed and developing nations is crucial. A failure to replace the previous treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, would put the world on a devastating path of unregulated and unrestricted greenhouse gas emissions.

President-elect Barack Obama (D) has given strong assurances to the countries in Poznan right now that, when he takes office, the United States will re-engage these talks with the objective of leading the world in cooperation on climate change. Rhetoric from Obama and eight years too many of Bush have skyrocketed expectations from foreign countries that the United States is going to be able to sign a strong climate treaty in Copenhagen. There’s a major problem, though. The reality is it’s all but impossible for Obama to get the Senate to ratify a global climate treaty. You need two-thirds of the Senate to go along, and the odds of getting 67 senators in a sharply partisan institution to vote ‘yes’ is not a winning proposition. It would be devastating if the country agreed to a treaty in Copenhagen and then was unable to get it ratified by the Senate. The international agreement would likely disintegrate, harming the United States’ standing in the world and sending emissions spiraling out of control.

We’ve seen this happen before. Former President Bill Clinton agreed in international talks to the Kyoto Protocol, and along with former Vice President Al Gore, he brought it back for consideration by the Senate, which never put it to a vote. This was embarrassing and made Kyoto grossly inadequate and ineffective. What’s the point of emissions reductions if the biggest emitter isn’t on board? To this day, the U.S. is the only developed country whose government has not moved to ratify Kyoto.

Obama needs to learn from past mistakes. There’s a way to turn these climate talks into walk. We need to pass a strong climate change bill in our country before talks in Copenhagen finish. A national bill is more politically feasible than ever before with a new Congress and a progressive president leading the charge. Obama would only need 60 votes in the Senate for a bill.

This is how we can give assurances to our European partners that the U.S. will be able to follow up on what it says it will do. This is how we can break the inaction from China and India. This is how we can restore the United States’ standing in the world. Congress historically moves slowly unless an issue is on the tip of constituents’ tongues. We need to let them hear it, including in Maryland.

Right now we have a situation where everybody is waiting for everybody. The world is watching. All eyes are on us. It’s about time we put our best foot forward.

Matt Dernoga is a junior government and politics major. He can be reached at mdernoga@umd.edu.

November 17, 2008

Action Against Coal, Politician Galore, and CCAN Retreat

So I should have pictures and press hits being linked eventually for everything I was a part of Fri-Sun. First I joined some people in protesting in front of the Bank of America since their bank has funded coal companies performing mountaintop removal to the tune of 6 billion dollars since 2001. We delivered letters from concerned students, and then did a “die-in” in front of the bank where we pretended to be dead/dying to symbolize the thousands of lives that coal and coal mining ruins and kills every year. There was a good deal of media there, and it was an interesting event. I’ve never protested anything like that, so I wanted to see what it was like.

Then Friday night I went to a Frank Kratovil victory party to celebrate, and get a picture of him with my Sierra Club buddies. So I met Kratovil, got to talk with him, and we got our pic taken with him as he wore a Sierra Club hat that said on it “here to save the planet”. Then, I realized that there were all sorts of big names in the house. I had the privilege of talking to Ben Cardin, Steny Hoyer, Congressman Dutch Rupersberger, soon to be leaving Congressman Wayne Gilchrest, and Governor O’Malley. All of my conversations went well except the O’Malley one, the Cardin one went real good. O’Malley didn’t seem to be too polite to be honest, but after thanking him for his support for the Global Warming Solutions Act, I told him in my opinion he should discontinue funding the ICC, and he pretty flatly and without elaboration said no. Not that I expected much different.

Then this weekend I went on a retreat held by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, where I met a lot of great activists, networked with people, talked about the climate movement, and did some planning for the winter and spring to achieve objectives. I had a great time, and I got to talk with Mike Tidwell too. I also got to give a speech about what students were doing.

So there will be pictures and press from some of this. Definitely pictures of some of my run-ins with the politicians to prove all this actually happened. Quite an exciting weekend!

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