Memo to Sen. Murkowski: Legislate for logical solution

But failing to seize her moment in the spotlight and put forward a specific legislative solution is where her logic falls apart and observers note the senator’s ear to certain greenhouse-gas-intensive industries that oppose action on climate change. This leaves me to believe that if we take climate change seriously, then perhaps EPA action is in fact better than no action at all.

Sen. Murkowski says that she doesn’t want a “gun to the Senate’s head” and claims that choosing between Waxman-Markey or Kerry-Boxer bills and EPA regulation is a “false choice.” While she acknowledges the science of climate change and notes the impacts in Alaska, the senator’s stated intent is to ensure that EPA regulations don’t come into place prior to Congress finishing its deliberations because she fears significant economic hardship from an EPA approach to the climate challenge.

The senator emphasizes that Congress must pass a bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions — she’s on record as being in favor of passing legislation to reduce emissions. Her position that the Senate needs to pass legislation based on sound policy that takes into account environmental integrity, economic impacts and job creation is absolutely appropriate.

What is lacking, however, from Sen.Murkowski’s foray into the fire, are a sense of urgency and a positive solution. Urgency is a scientific and economic necessity. Peer-reviewed science notes that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s worst-case scenario forecasts are increasingly likely without immediate action, which is why so many are eager to see the EPA move forward.

The Senate is tied up in its predictably partisan politics all with an eye toward mid-term elections. Meanwhile, EPA is following its mandate and the law, and is trying to urgently tackle the problem. As logical as Sen. Murkowski may be in her desire to find a congressional solution to climate change, so is EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in her intent to urgently solve a problem that economist Sir Nicholas Stern has called “the greatest market failure the world has ever seen.”

The senator from Alaska has made her point and has everyone’s attention. But now is the moment for real leadership and putting forward a concise legislative option that places a science-based cap on greenhouse gas emissions. Otherwise, Sen. Murkowski is open to critiques of just playing politics.


Establish fee to fund public safety broadband

From Brian Fontes, Ph.D.; CEO, National Emergency Number Association

I fully agree with Jamie Barnett’s op-ed, “Communicating in a disaster” (Jan. 18), highlighting the necessity and benefits of broadband for public safety.

The time is now for Congress to take action and ensure that our nation’s first responders, including 9-1-1, have access to broadband capabilities, networks, applications, services and training.

This vision can only be realized through a dedicated, recurring source of funding. Everyone agrees that public safety services are an essential component of our country’s homeland security agenda, yet we continue to ignore the most fundamental question: How is public safety access to broadband going to be funded? I suggest that Congress create the Public Safety Broadband Fund and authorize the FCC to collect a fee for the purpose of connecting all public safety agencies to broadband and simultaneously providing the recurring funding necessary to ensuring the sustainability of this network.