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Randy Hultgren on the environment

Updated: December 13, 2010 11:28AM

The question

From Anita Mitchell of Sugar Grove: What is your vision for utilizing new technologies to create a cleaner environment (water and air) that can also provide jobs for Illinois? What can be done in the near future to ameliorate our dependence on fossil fuels and give our children a less threatened, more habitable planet?

The fact-check

Hultgren suggests extending the federal research and development tax credit. Congress enacted this program in 1981 to help companies develop innovative products. It was overhauled in 2001, removing several restrictions and making these federal dollars more accessible.

This credit has been allowed to expire numerous times during its tenure, most recently at the end of 2009. President Barack Obama has called for it to be reinstated and made permanent.

You will, again, find conflicting analyses of the Cap and Trade bill, a proposal that would set limits on carbon emissions and then charge companies for permits to emit those carbons. Hultgren here refers to it as a tax, which is somewhat stretching the definition — should this proposal pass, energy companies are expected to raise their rates to compensate for the cost of the permits, and of quickly reducing their carbon emissions.

Theoretically, while consumers would pay more in the short term for energy, the long-term savings would be significant. It depends on whether you accept the theory.

Both a Time Magazine article from July with figures from the Congressional Budget Office and a Heritage Foundation analysis that came up with the opposite result are linked above.

- Andre Salles

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