The House of Representatives is expected vote on an energy and climate-change bill by Friday, June 26. One of the primary objectives of this bill (which has been the subject of several of my entries over the past few weeks) is to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The interesting news today is that President Barack Obama and former Vice President Al Gore have apparently joined forces to drum up national support for the bill. According to an article written by Kim Chipman at Bloomberg, Cabinet members were to begin traveling across the nation this week encouraging support. Chipman cites a statement issued by White House spokesman Ben LaBolt, explaining that this undertaking is part of an effort to raise public awareness and rally backing for the President’s plan to tackle climate change and remake the US energy economy. This initiative, according to LaBolt, will be patterned on Obama’s successful effort earlier this year to pass the $787 billion economic recovery act. Chipman’s article includes a comment from Gore touting the program. “We have to go to the grassroots,” Gore told supporters by e-mail. Given the emphasis on green energy, it would really be great if the Cabinet members would consider greenhouse emissions as they undertake their travel. It might be a good idea to cycle or drive electric cars as they spread the word to the general public. Frankly, regardless of the method of delivery, I’m not convinced the bill will get a very warm reception when Americans find out that the proposed law would cost $22 billion a year by 2020, or $175 for every household. These are the figures that were released last week by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and I have to think that with the global economy in the state it is in presently and with unemployment rates climbing, enthusiasm for additional household costs might not equal Democrats’ expectations. The CBO says that in fact, there are plans to soften the cost to consumers by giving some industries free pollution permits and selling others at auction to raise money for tax relief. Without those measures, the price tag could be much higher. In an analysis prepared for Representative Dave Camp, a Michigan lawmaker who leads the Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee, the cost without these measures would be $110 billion a year, or $890 per household. While the Democrats undertake their plan to travel the nation to reach the common man this week, the American Petroleum Institute (API) has taken a different tack. Earlier this month, the API sent 30 working people from the industry to Washington to give their views about what’s good about oil and gas to senators, representatives, and senior staff members. According to an article in the Oil & Gas Journal, API spokesperson Karen Matusic explained the objective of this undertaking. "We wanted to show the human face of the industry, helping policymakers understand that actions that affect the oil and gas industry have consequences for real people all across the country, their families, and their communities.” What a concept. Instead of taking the message to the people, Washington can actually hear what “the people” think. API President and CEO Jack Gerard hopes to make the visit to Washington a regular event. “We want our policymakers to meet the hard-working employees of our industry and come away with a better understanding of who we are and what we do to bring Americans the energy they need, now and in the future.” Undoubtedly, it would be good for legislators to get some facts and figures about the enormous number of people who are employed in the US energy business, a look at the industry’s advanced technology and how it is being applied to make oil and gas production "cleaner," and a realistic comprehension of how “green” legislation could impact areas of the country where energy companies are the biggest employers. One of the people quoted in the Oil & Gas Journal article makes a significant point: “I am a third-generation refinery employee, and I have seen how an industry like ours can create opportunities for people in our area. I want to tell policymakers that if they do not make the right decisions now, they could put an industry out of business. It would have a devastating effect on our community where 50% of the budget for the local school district comes from the oil industry.” Sadly, it isn’t very likely that the Cabinet members fanning out across the nation to encourage grassroots support for this bill will talk with many of these kinds of people. More is the pity.