Congressman Reed Fields Questions on Energy Policy, Flood Zone Remapping

Posted May 7, 2012

Reed: We need national commitment on energy plan
Staff Report, The Star-Gazette

From FEMA flood maps to a comprehensive energy plan, Congressman Tom Reed fielded a multitude of questions Tuesday morning (5/1) from a gathering sponsored by the Chemung County Chamber of Commerce at the Holiday Inn-Riverview in Elmira.

Reed, R-Corning, was quizzed by a panel including Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli, Horseheads School Superintendent Ralph Marino and, via a Skype connection from Albany, Sen. Tom O'Mara, R-Big Flats.

Santulli said the two key issues for area residents are jobs and energy and asked Reed why the country still does not have a comprehensive energy policy.

"Not only from this president, but President Bush, others, we just haven't seen that commitment on the national level, in my opinion, Democrat and Republican, to come together and say 'we need a comprehensive, all-of-the-above, all-in approach to our energy needs in America.' And the ultimate goal, in my opinion, needs to be energy independence," Reed responded.

The country needs to adopt a short-term, mid-term and long-term plan, he said, to accommodate the fossil-fuel based economy we live in and to make renewable energy a piece of the solution going forward.

Reed's office is working on a road map to energy independence, he added.

Marino asked Reed for his perspective on the federal government's role in education policy.

A one-size-fits-all solution from Washington, doesn't work, Reed said. School districts, board should be making decisions for the communities, but don't look to Washington for a funding solution.

Reed pointed out the country faces a $15.6 trillion deficit.

"What we're seeing in the House of Representatives when it comes to the short-term position on education is we don't have any money," Reed said.

"... What we need to do is maximize the dollars going from the federal government to the state government to the local school districts."

O'Mara asked Reed to share his thoughts on the FEMA flood zone remapping process, which would put many area homes not currently listed in a flood zone into such a category, affecting insurance rates and resale.

"I believe we are going to be able to address it ... but it may be another short-term Band-Aid," Reed said, noting both FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers are unwilling to certify flood control structures they designed and built 35 years ago.

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