Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Letter to the Senator

A couple weeks ago I fired off two e-mails to both senators of Washington State. One about renewable energy (solar) and the other about Taiwan. I first sent off the e-mail about her support for Taiwan in terms of the Arms Deal holdup as well as general support for Taiwan's international space, specifically on H.C.R. 136 - Support for removal of restrictions on high-level visits by Taiwan officials. A few days later I sent off an e-mail regarding support for renewable energy, which specifically contained incentives for solar energy- I believe that was H.R. 6049.

To my surprise, Senator Murray sent a response back to me within one business day on the issue of solar energy and thanked me for my support of renewable energy. At the same time she took the chance to place all blame on the Republicans (perhaps not unfounded):


Thank you for contacting me to express your support for renewable energy and your interest in extending renewable energy tax credits. It was good to hear from you.

Like you, I agree renewable energy should be an important part of the national energy policy. I believe that increasing our use of alternative energy and developing conservation and efficiency technologies will help our country meet its future energy needs.

As you may know, on December 19, 2007, the President signed into law the Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007. This law set new standards for energy efficiency, and increase fuel economy standards for cars for the first time in 30 years. Unfortunately, Republicans prevented the Senate from including an important tax incentive package in this legislation. This tax packaged included several important renewable energy tax credit extensions.

In June 2008, the Senate once again tried to pass a tax package with renewable energy tax credit extensions. Despite H.R. 6049, the Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act, passing the House, the Senate was unable to consider the legislation because Senate Republicans blocked the motion to proceed to the bill. H.R. 6049, would provide tax incentives for renewable energy production, extend expiring renewable energy tax provisions, and help homeowners and businesses who make their properties more energy efficient. Rest assured, I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to ensure that these important issues are addressed.

As a member of the Senate Renewable Energy Caucus and the Senate Appropriations Committee, I will continue to support efforts to diversify our energy portfolio to offset fossil fuel use. I will certainly keep your thoughts in mind as the Senate continues to address energy issues during the 110th Congress. If you would like to know more about my work in the Senate, please feel free to sign up for my updates at Thank you again for writing, and please keep in touch.

To my dismay, Senator Murray has not responded to my e-mail about Taiwan at all. It has now been two weeks, and if she can fire off a response within a day on the issue of solar energy, is it not reasonable to expect one also on Taiwan within a week or two? I suppose the issue of Taiwan is too tough of an issue for her. She's willing to speak out on solar when I'm in support of her there, but unwilling to explain herself on Taiwan when it's likely not in her favor to vocally support Taiwan's Arms Deal. Perhaps it's not as surprising that she will stay silent on that issue, but I would have hoped for at least a response from her in explaining her position.

Elections are just around the corner and it's always nice to have an idea of where your candidates stand on the issues that are important to you. And being silent on the issue is just about as bad as having the opposite position of those on the other side of the aisle.

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