The Mark UP

Upton represents Michigan’s past, not its future

Representative Fred Upton, Chairman of the powerful House Committee on Energy and Commerce, has a choice every day: does he support oil companies and other special interests, or does he promote clean energy that will end our dependence on oil and improve our national security?

Unfortunately, most mornings he has been making the wrong choice.

Upton represents a district in Southwest Michigan, a part of the country that has been hard hit by the economic recession.  But Michigan is making progress by investing in clean energy and related industries: Michigan currently ranks fourth in the country for jobs in the solar industry and has more than 200 companies working in wind or solar power.  More than 10,000 people work in Michigan’s renewable energy sector, and a majority of those jobs have been created in the last five years.

What about Upton?  He’s been  championing an oil pipeline that would deliver tar sands oil from Canada to Texas.  Not only would this pipeline raise gas prices in his district, it would benefit his special interest donors and companies that he holds stock in.

He’s also been working hard to undermine clean air safeguards that help protect public health, even misrepresenting his own proposed legislation .

It’s not surprising that the majority of Upton’s constituents do not support his work for special interests.   As one constituent said: “It’s time for Upton to start representing Michigan, not Big Oil.”

As the chairman of a powerful House committee, Upton’s decisions have a real impact on the lives of millions of people.   I just wished he could make the right ones.