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CCL Update: Meeting Our Congressman

The highlight of the last three months was a meeting January 11, where First District Congressman Rob Wittman discussed his work on a Readiness Subcommittee Hearing on Navy aviation and personnel support, the recent Paris Climate Conference, and his approach to climate issues in the coming year. This status report is based on the summary prepared by Mr. Jay Walker of NAPS and published in the Rappahannock Record and the Northumberland Echo.

The discussion was attended by Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) members Dr. Greg Haugan, Dr. Maureen Fairbrother, and Mike Harwood.

The visitors touched on how well Rep. Wittman (Rep. Virginia) ran the subcommittee hearing, which was broadcast on C-SPAN, January 8.

“Significantly, there was no political wrangling nor rancor, no ‘gotcha’ questions, and no grandstanding for the cameras,” said Haugan. “You could not tell the politics of the subcommittee members asking questions of the Navy officers testifying.”

According to the Armed Services Committee, Congressman Wittman’s subcommittee not only manages the largest account within the DOD budget, it oversees civilian personnel, energy security, and environmental issues that affect the Defense Department.

The CCL representatives reviewed the results of the Paris Climate Conference focusing on the important successes and the need for, not only putting a price on carbon, but the need for new technologies and renewable energy sources to meet the identified goals. Regarding the issue of climate change actions in Congress, Rep. Wittman explained his approach in his subcommittee.

“Simply put, it was to find common ground on issues of clean energy, renewables, and the need for conservation,” Haugan reported. “He indicated he would continue to avoid divisive issues in his approach to the environment and energy, including work to develop new technologies such as alternative nuclear power generation and use of spent fuels. He described the role of the subcommittee in pushing new technologies since they will be needed by the military to replace fossil fuels. Also, Congressman Wittman indicated that the private sector could use these technologies once developed to provide stable power sources to complement the variable wind and solar sources.”

According to Haugan, there are plans to visit the congressman again at the Tappahannock office in March/April as part of a CCL Spring Lobby Day and then have a larger group from CCL to visit his office in DC in June, which Wittman said he would welcome.

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