April 28, 2012

The Post’s editorial board seems committed to oppose any legislation with my name on it. How else to explain its criticism of the Energy Innovation and Savings Amendment Act of 2012 [“D.C. and climate change,” April 22]?

The editorial opposed solar energy incentives in the District and nearby jurisdictions. Solar energy is uniquely suited to serve the District because it offers site flexibility, can be easily added to existing structures, reduces stress on the grid in precise areas and creates local green jobs. Perhaps The Post would like the District to fall behind our neighbors, such as Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, which ave enacted similar incentives.

As for my recently introduced legislation, it will encourage development of solar and co- generation energy systems by ensuring that producers are not subject to taxes in the District that they wouldn’t pay in nearby jurisdictions such as Maryland. If we want clean, renewable energy sources in the District, we should not impose District-specific burdens on them.

As for The Post’s proposed solution — imposing a carbon tax — that approach would divert capital to a new and complex bureaucracy, money that could be used for clean-energy development. The editorial called the District’s climate policy “unnecessarily complex” but then proposed a complicated tax to fix it. What’s more, a carbon tax effectively establishes a ceiling for pollution but does little to encourage clean-energy development after the cap is satisfied.

Mary Cheh, Washington

The writer (D-Ward 3) is chair of the D.C. Council’s Committee on the Environment, Public Works and Transportation.