The Alliance for Climate Protection, which was founded in 2006 by Al Gore, and the Climate Protection Action Fund have brought the Repower America campaign to Columbus, seeking to generate support in Central Ohio and beyond for the American Clean Energy and Security Act, also known as ACES or the Waxman-Markey Bill, or as a “pile of s---t ” to quote House Minority Leader John Boehner, (R-OH). The measure passed in the House, 219-212 on June 26. Time will tell what becomes of the bill in the Senate.

Proponents say ACES will create jobs, help address climate change, and promote US national security. To some environmental groups, the bill is a flawed step in the right direction that is better than nothing. To other environmental groups, the bill is a handout to big industries and has little chance of addressing climate change. Moreover, many Republicans oppose the bill on economic grounds, saying it will hurt an already damaged economy. reported on June 24, before the bill passed in the House, that the Sierra Club and 28 other NGOs urged House members to support final passage of the bill.

Earlier this summer, Environment Ohio worked with Ohio PIRG to canvass Columbus neighborhoods for support for ACES. Amy Gomberg, Program Director for Environment Ohio, said in an email sent to a mass of recipients on Aug. 3, “ the bill that passed through the House is not what we were hoping for, but it's an historic step forward in the fight to stop global warming.”

But some environmental groups such as Greenpeace and Rainforest Action Network (RAN) oppose the bill. Greenpeace-USA Deputy Campaigns Director Carroll Muffett issued the following statement shortly after the House narrowly passed the bill at the end of June:

“The passage of the inadequate ACES bill through the House today is a victory for coal industry lobbyists, oil industry lobbyists, agriculture industry lobbyists, steel and cement industry lobbyists, among many others. But it is a tremendous loss for the American people and for the world in our common fight to avert climate catastrophe"

Similarly, Yale’s Environment 360 reported in June that Michael Brune, Executive Director of RAN, said ACES falls far short of what the climate science requires and that the bill includes “a massive loophole that will allow polluters to meet their carbon reduction obligations by paying someone else not to pollute, rather than reducing their own emissions.”

In addition to Rep. Boehner (R-OH), there are people who oppose ACES for apparently non-environmental reasons. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) wrote on that the plan “belches from the caldron of liberal ideology, a potent potion of across-the-board tax hikes and job losses, putting the final choke on an already suffocating economy.”

The Wall Street Journal reported on June 28 that Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) said “the Waxman-Markey bill promises to destroy our standard of living."

But the people I talked with on July 28 at the opening ceremony of the Columbus office of Repower America seemed to focus on the anticipated economic benefits of the bill, much like Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) at the close of debate before the final House vote over a month ago : “ Just remember these four words: Jobs, jobs, jobs and jobs.”

Bryan McGannon is State Director for Ohio at the Alliance for Climate Protection/Repower America. He and I spoke at the ceremony for the recently opened Columbus office.

“Clean energy legislation will help reinvigorate manufacturing jobs in Ohio,” said McGannon. He said “part of our challenge is to let people know this is a jobs bill and a national security bill. To us, it clearly is a broad energy bill that encompasses much more than a clean environment.”

Congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH) was in Washington on the day of the event, but Samantha Herd, Kilroy’s district director, was at the ceremony which took place in the Short North just east of High Street. “The ACES bill is a job creation bill. We can’t let the manufacturing jobs of the future go to other countries,” Herd said.

State Representative Dan Stewart (D-Columbus) told the 50 or so mostly office-attire-clad attendees of the event that the bill is “good for the environment, the economy, good for our future, and good for our soul.”

McGannon said the Repower America campaign is connecting concerns about the environment with concerns about economics and social justice. “ We’re reaching out to all sorts of communities -- green businesses, agriculture -- we share a lot of concerns, ” McGannon said. During his brief speech to the small crowd gathered at the ceremony, he said it is important to have a “grassroots network to put pressure on Congress to let them know this (passage of ACES ) is important to all walks of life.”