Veterans group takes on Matheson over energy bill

TV ads » Energy independence is security issue

By Thomas Burr

The Salt Lake Tribune
Updated: 04/27/2009 02:17:01 PM MDT

Washington » A progressive veterans group supporting a clean-energy bill is taking on Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson, who could be a key vote on the legislation.

The Vote Vets Action Fund is buying cable time on CNN, MSNBC and Fox in Salt Lake City to urge Utahns to lobby Matheson to back the American Clean Energy and Security Act. The Utah congressman raised several questions about the bill during a recent hearing.

“Getting America less dependent on foreign oil and towards clean energy is a national security matter,” says Chris LeJeune, an Iraq war veteran who appears in the commercial. “Congressman Matheson has a chance to vote for a comprehensive clean-energy jobs bill that would lessen those Middle East oil profits that help fund terrorism, and would create jobs right here.”

The legislation highlighted by the ad is the American Clean Energy and Security Act, now being fast-tracked by a committee on which Matheson sits. The bill promotes renewable energy and energy efficiency, but also includes a “global warming” section that limits heat-trapping pollutants.

Matheson says the bill is not yet finalized and he wants more time to study it and seek input from those affected.

“The draft bill we are looking at today is a huge piece of legislation,” Matheson said at a hearing recently, bringing up 12 problems he sees with the bill. “It seeks to address an exceptionally complicated issue. I am
concerned about moving so quickly.”

Matheson spokeswoman Alyson Heyrend says her boss agrees that freeing America from foreign oil is an important national security issue, but that the bill is only in draft form and has “significant blank spots on key aspects.”

“Matheson is going to keep asking questions and pointing out the concerns that he has with the draft, because it’s critical to get it right,” Heyrend said.

The advertisements are slated to run 450 times this week on cable in the Salt Lake City market, says the Vote Vets group.


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