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Senate hopeful Hogg highlights electric vehicles as one climate change solution

CEDAR RAPIDS — Solutions to climate change already are known, state Sen. Rob Hogg says. It’s just a matter of getting Congress to act on implementing them.

“We have lots of solutions that work,” Hogg said Monday. We don’t need the Keystone pipeline. We don’t need the Bakken pipeline.”

Instead, Hogg said more alternatives such as hybrid and all-electric vehicles are needed. He talked about energy sources during the kickoff of his “climate solutions” tour at an electric vehicle charging station at Paulson Electric in Cedar Rapids.

The tour that will include a stop at Luther College’s solar array Thursday is part of the Cedar Rapids Democrat’s campaign for his party’s 2016 U.S. Senate nomination.

“These solutions work,” Hogg said. “Solar power, wind power, other renewable energy sources, electric vehicles, fuel-efficient cars, rail, walkable and bikeable communities, advanced biofuels, agricultural solutions that build the carbon content of our soil and retain the nutrients on the land, investments in natural resources and investments in infrastructure to safeguard people and property from extreme weather events.”

Hogg would like to see Congress act soon on renewing the wind energy tax credit that was allowed to expire last December, extend the solar energy tax credit before it expires next year, support the EPA’s clean-power plan that sets state thresholds for sustainable energy and support an international agreement on climate change that will be negotiated at a United Nations gathering in Paris next month.

“It is time to act on climate change,” he said. “Millions of Americans who are acting to address climate change. We need Congress to join the fight against climate change.”

Related: Without Keystone, industry must find new paths for oil.

Hogg introduced two of those who have joined the fight. Marc Franke of Ely has driven 20,000 miles “without using a drop of oil or gasoline” in his all-electric Nissan Leaf.

“That makes me jealous,” said Sara Riley of Cedar Rapids, who has gone as long as two months without putting gasoline in her gas-electric Chevy Volt hybrid.

“When I think of the problems with fossil fuels I think about tanker spills and pipeline spills,” Franke said. He makes his own fuel — electricity — with solar panels in his backyard.

“My solar panels never spill, never have a leak and every day the sunshine fall on them and provides fresh energy,” Franke said. His Leaf has a range of about 80 miles, so he has a gasoline-powered car for long-distance driving. He’s looking forward to the day there are quick-charge station, like the one at Paulson Electric, along major highways.

Hogg is making climate change one of his top issues in the four-way race for the Democratic nomination to face Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley.

Former state legislators Ray Zirkelbach, Tom Fiegen and Bob Krause also are seeking the nomination that will be determined in next June’s primary election.

“I think this is rapidly moving up the list of issues voters are concerned about, and I would say that’s on a bipartisan basis,” he said, citing a University of Texas Energy Poll. It found that three-quarters of Americans now accept the scientific consensus on climate change. The poll found the percentage of Republicans saying climate change is happening has risen from 47 percent six months ago to 59 percent.

“I think there are growing numbers of Americans who want us to act on climate change,” Hogg said, “and I think we need to unite as a country behind this.”

Hogg will visit the Luther solar array, 902 Pole Line Rd. in Decorah, to highlight solar energy and energy-efficient green buildings.

This article was written by James Q. Lynch from The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.