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OPED: Perry takes issue with reports on climate record
I appreciate the opportunity to respond to your July 25 editorial, “Rep. Scott Perry must step up on climate change.”
Recently, I introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would strike the requirement for the Secretary of Defense to submit a report on the vulnerability to military installations resulting from climate change over the next 20 years. I didn’t submit this amendment to deny that climate change exists — contrary to the media narrative by this and other outlets. I submitted the amendment because this isn’t the time to dedicate precious financial resources to report on an issue that the Department of Defense (DoD) can already address.
The Congressional Research Service says that direct federal funding to address global climate change totaled approximately $77 billion from fiscal year 2008 through fiscal year 2013; that number obviously has increased since then. As of December 2014, almost 40 federal departments and agencies had, to varying degrees, produced climate change adaptation plans or climate change vulnerability assessments.
In October 2014, then-Secretary Chuck Hagel stated that the DoD had nearly completed a baseline survey of its nearly 7,000 installations and other facilities that would be used to integrate climate change considerations into planning, operations and training. The DoD already operates under a directive titled “Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience,” which provides the DoD with the resources necessary to assess and manage risks associated with the impacts of climate change.
Clearly, our military leaders have the studies and the resources available to address the impacts of climate change if they choose; yet Washington bureaucrats and certain climate extremists insist they know better than our men and women in uniform about how to carry out the mission to protect our country.
The United States military is facing direct threats from myriad adversaries, including Islamist Extremists such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda and the Taliban — to name a few, and North Korea, Iran and Russia. Over the past eight years, our military’s strength and readiness has suffered greatly as a result of the under-funding and neglect from the previous presidential administration. We must prioritize the strengthening and rebuilding of our Armed Forces.
I recently introduced another amendment involving environmental issues — with strong bipartisan support. I was proud to advocate for it on the House floor this week with my Democrat colleagues. Interestingly enough, though, I didn’t read about that one in your newspaper. Probably didn’t fit your narrative.
This amendment increases funding for hydropower development — without adding to our national debt. Hydropower is the largest source of clean, renewable energy in the U.S., creating thousands of jobs — including many in the 4th District — and providing power to millions of Americans at low cost. Of the approximately 80,000 dams in the U.S., nearly 3 percent currently generate hydropower. This represents a tremendous opportunity for our nation's energy needs and is environmentally friendly.
I continuously search for policies that can do just that — improve our climate and environment, and create jobs. I’m not interested in asking our already-struggling 4th District citizens and families to shell out more money for new, unfunded, federal mandates with questionable environmental benefits.
But of course, your view is that any elected official who doesn’t support your environmental agenda is bought and paid for by those nasty and evil energy companies. And, certainly, those that support your environmental agenda must do it only for the benefit of the planet. That’s ridiculous.
I remind you that thousands of people in our region have well-paying jobs that pay their mortgage, their taxes and their kids’ education funds because of the hard work they do for these energy companies — and they’re proud of what they do, justifiably. Remember that the next time you turn on the lights in your newsroom.
For the record, according to Open Secrets, in the 2015-2016 election cycle, NextGen Climate Action gave $6,694,691 to federal candidates, parties and outside groups, and Environment America gave $6,941,786. These numbers don’t include the millions given by George Soros and countless other “environmentalists.”
I meet with climate activists all the time and will continue to do so. They’re good people with whom I disagree — perhaps strongly at times — on some issues. But I’ll keep working to find solutions. I suggest you work on realizing that there can be legitimate — and respectful — debate on this issue.
— U.S. Rep. Scott Perry represents the 4th Congressional District of Pennsylvania.