EPA Administrator Jackson, DOE Secretary Chu and Transportation Secretary LaHood all testified before the Energy and Commerce Committee. One of the first issues of controversy came as Secretary Chu was questioned concerning nuclear power. Rep. Upton (R-MI) began the questioning by asking the Secretary whether he thought there should be a nuclear title included in the legislation. He first responded by saying that the administration is supportive of promoting the nuclear industry and figuring out a way to best make it work. However when further pressed, Chu responded saying, “yes,” the administrative would be supportive of such a title.
Nuclear power again came up as Rep. Stearns (R-FL) had his turn at questioning. He wanted Secretary Chu to repeat his answer of “yes,” however Chu backed off. He instead resorted to his original answer that the administration will work to include nuclear power in the energy mix as they move forward.
Another hot topic was the failure of the draft legislation to include a plan to allocate emission allowances. This point was brought up by Rep. Shimkus (R-IL), as he said not knowing the cost of this bill is a major problem. Shimkus believes the key details of the bill were left out so that no cost benefit analysis could be completed on the bill before the mark-up.
EPA Administrator Jackson called this draft bill a “jobs bill,” and hopes that millions of jobs can be created with its passage. She was questioned on this by members who represent states with a major amount of manufacturing jobs. While no one doubts that this bill would create jobs, the question of how many manufacturing jobs could be lost or moved overseas was posed by Rep. Scalise (R-LA).