Winning the war of energy words takes repetition

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Sen. Lamar Alexander likes talking about carbon. In the past two years he’s talked about carbon more than any other member of Congress.

Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, also uses the words “coal,” “renewable,” “climate” and “power” quite a bit. He is among the current and former members most likely to pepper their speech with energy- and environment-related words. The club also includes such familiar names as Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and former senator and now Interior Secretary Ken Salazar of Colorado.

The leaders of energy and environment speak are found in a new Web site that put the bulk of nine years worth of the Congressional Record into a database. After tossing out words such as “and,” “in,” and “the,” the site allows users to search for which words are spoken and written most often and what words individual lawmakers say the most often. For energy and environmental topics, it reveals who spends the most time mentioning concepts as technical as “sequestration,” or as general as the word “land.”


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