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Swanspirit
October 16th, 2001, 10:45 AM
Yesterday President Bush urged the Senate to pass an
energy bill that would allow drilling for oil in the
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, casting the issue
as a matter of national security. [New York Times
http://actionnetwork.org/ct/Wp1VANE1uqDy/NYT]

This is the first time since the September 11th attack
that the White House has issued any comments regarding
energy. So, it seems the White House is now using the
attack as an excuse to push energy legislation that
does little for national security, but doles out corporate
welfare to fossil fuel and nuclear energy suppliers.

David Case, the executive editor of TomPaine.com, has
written a great article, "Why Bush's energy plan should
be scrapped." It's posted a bit further down in this
message. Also, check out the Sierra Activist website
for dozens of informative articles about the Arctic
Refuge http://actionnetwork.org/ct/I11VANE1uqDh/Arctic,
Energy http://actionnetwork.org/ct/I71VANE1uqD8/Energy,
and the Petroleum Industry
http://actionnetwork.org/ct/Id1VANE1uqDn/Petroleum.


TAKE ACTION!

We need to respond to Bush's "Drill the Arctic" message with one of our own. Please call the White House Comment
Line - 202-456-1111. You can leave a short message
with a comment taker. Something like...

"I'm disappointed with President Bush calling for the
drilling of oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
I'm opposed to oil drilling there. Drilling for oil
in the Arctic National Wildlife is NOT in the interest
of America's national security. Alternative energy
and efficiency could be among the most potent weapons
in America's fight to enhance its national security
and improve its economic prospects. It's time for President
Bush and Congress to stop pandering to the short-term
interests of its political patrons and take energy security seriously."




OIL AID: AFTER THE ATTACK

Why Bush's energy plan should be scrapped

By David Case, executive editor of TomPaine.com.

The September 11 attack makes it clear: in the name
of national security, in the name of jobs and the economy,
public health, and the environment, it's time to declare
war on our addiction to fossil fuel and nuclear energy.

Yet just one day after the attack, while Americans
were hypnotized by images of the World Trade Center
disintegrating, several Republican senators called
for prompt consideration of the Bush administration's
energy plan (the House has already passed a version).
The senators hoped to use crisis-induced bipartisanship
and concern for national security to generate momentum
and minimize debate. In the weeks since, they have
repeatedly tried to jam a bill through, but haven't
succeeded. That's a good thing, because enacting this
energy policy would be a grave mistake.
>What the nation needs is an energy plan that reduces
our reliance on nuclear and fossil-fuel power and puts
us on a path towards energy independence. We don't
need a plan that further exploits our dwindling and
degraded natural heritage in an effort to squeeze more
coal, oil and gas from the land. We need a plan that
explores the virtually uncharted terrain of renewable,
clean, home-grown energy. The plan we need would marshal
our national capital to advance new technology, employ
Americans, and squeeze more economic productivity from
every dollar.

The White House energy plan makes only a token nod
in this direction. Instead, it institutionalizes Vice
President Cheney's belief that conservation is only
a "personal virtue" and not something worthy of supporting
in national policy. In deference to Cheney's fossil-fuel
buddies and political patrons, it locks us into another
generation of old-economy thinking.

Before September 11, a range of public interest groups
found reason to oppose the plan -- from the libertarian
Cato Institute to the Sierra Club. The Cato Institute
criticized it as corporate welfare for its $33.5 billion
in subsidies, most of which would prop up fossil fuel
and nuclear energy suppliers. Among the subsidized
would be ExxonMobil, which recently ascended to the
top of the Fortune 500, posting its most profitable
quarter in history. Peabody Energy, the nation's largest
coal company, would also benefit, even though it recently
launched a public stock offering that far exceeded
expectations. The Sierra Club objected to the negative
environmental and public health impact of continued reliance on conventional power sources.

The plan's opponents are right. Congress ought to scrap
it and start over for a host of reasons.

National Security: By not taking meaningful steps to
establish an alternative to petroleum, the White House
energy plan makes us more vulnerable to terrorists
over the decades to come. More than half of our oil
comes from abroad, and the oil trade is an inherently
destabilizing force in the world. Part of the money
that Americans pay at the gasoline pump helps prop
up oil-rich sponsors of terrorism, like Saddam Hussein and Muammar al-Qaddafi. Unfortunately, in energy politics,
the public interest is a minor consideration. Profits
come first. "A big reason the United States spends
so much money policing the Middle East and the reason
we went to war in the Persian Gulf has to do with the
enormous amount of money -- hundreds of billions of dollars -- that the U.S. oil companies make refining
and marketing Middle Eastern oil," argues Mark Weisbrot
of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Public Health: The Clean Air Task Force estimates that
power plant air pollution causes 30,000 premature deaths
each year. Yet the administration's energy plan actually
threatens to roll back environmental safeguards. Moreover,
by favoring new plant construction over efficiency,
air pollution will only get worse. If the administration
is successful in enacting an energy policy that "relies
more heavily on old dirty coal plants without controls,
then the life expectancy of Americans will continue
to be shortened by the resultant air pollution," says
Conrad Schneider of the Clean Air Task Force.

Lost Productivity: Added emissions from the Bush approach
would also hamper economic productivity. Although few
studies have calculated the societal price of pollution,
those that exist suggest the toll is many billions
of dollars each year. The U.S. health cost associated
with acid rain, which is largely attributed to fossil
fuels, is estimated at $14 to $40 billion per year.
Germany, a country only about 5 percent the size of
the U.S., loses $4.7 billion each year in agricultural
production from air pollution. Naturally, these costs
will be paid by citizens, not energy companies.

Economic Stimulus: Another problem is that, at a time
when businesses are struggling to survive economic
downturn and the government is committing billions
to prime the economy, the plan shirks sensible economic
opportunities that would aid the country. Exploiting
energy efficiency would help us grapple with the dual
challenges of war and economic downturn, argues Karl
Rabago, managing director of the Rocky Mountain Institute.
By reducing energy bills, he says, "efficiency plows
savings back into the economy, and it can generate
far more jobs than drilling in the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge." This, according to Rabago, could
potentially dwarf the impact of a federally financed
economic stimulus package.

Backers of the White House plan paint their opponents
as dreamers who call for an immediate end to the use
of oil, coal and gas. But this is a straw man -- no
one is proposing that. Instead, opponents want a national
energy policy with sound, long-term economic goals
at its heart. They want a policy that will staunch,rather than quench, the national thirst for fossilfuels.

In the near term, Congress could take decisive steps
to do just that. SUVs, pickups and minivans consume
a disproportionate amount of the nation's gasoline.
That's largely because the government exempts these
gas guzzlers from the fuel efficiency standards required
of automobiles. Congress should immediately close this
loophole, and upgrade the standard, which hasn't been
done since 1976. Automobile expert Jack Doyle points
out that Detroit has the technology to manufacture
cars that get 50 or 60 miles per gallon (some Japanese
cars already achieve this) and that mandating higher
standards would stimulate the economy by creating a
flurry of new investment and jobs.

Congress should also follow the example of Europe,
where citizens enjoy a high quality of life while using
half as much energy as we do. This would mean investing
public funds in trains instead of highways and airports,
making automobile travel reflect its true cost, constructing
bike lanes, and embracing energy conservation.

At the same time, Congress must mobilize the full force
of American resourcefulness to replace the current
fossil-fuel infrastructure with a safe, clean and domestically-based
one. That means getting serious about investing in
technology. Compared to the energy bill's billions
for conventional power sources, the bill throws mere
pocket change to alternative energy.

America has a good, but neglected, program to develop alternative energy. In the 1970s, the Carter administration planted the seeds for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The lab has long been embattled. Its goals
have met with hostility from many politicians -- Ronald Reagan, for one, symbolically removed the solar panels from the roof of the White House. The modest annual
budget for alterative energy research -- which at less
than $400 million could be funded for more than 150
years before matching the $60 billion low-end estimates
for missile defense -- is under constant threat; early
on, the current administration proposed sharp cuts.
Yet U.S. government-funded scientists have led the
world in renewable energy breakthroughs. Thanks in
large part to American innovations, wind power is now
cost competitive with coal and natural gas, and solar
electricity costs have fallen 80 percent.

Shifting to alternative energy would have the added
long-term benefit of making the U.S. electricity grid
less vulnerable to terrorism. Alternative energy depends
on many decentralized producers (such as wind farms
and rooftop solar panels), so it is less vulnerable
to attack than big central power plants. (Likewise,
the Internet, with its decentralized computing resources,
was conceived with a nuclear attack in mind.) But establishing
a new energy infrastructure, and mastering the technological
challenges that remain, will require a meaningful budget
and, yes, government leadership.

Most importantly, Congress should launch a World War
>II style effort to perfect and commercialize the hydrogen
fuel cell. More than anything, automobiles tie our
fate to Middle Eastern oil. The fuel cell -- a squeaky
clean and quiet battery-like engine that runs on easily
manufactured fuels -- is our best hope for changing
that. The technology is almost within our grasp, but
government support is anemic ($25 million per year
for research), and most of the innovation is occurring
overseas. Next year, 30 DaimlerChrysler fuel cell buses
will begin to serve commuters across Europe, and the
company plans to have cars on the road by 2004. Yet
challenges remain, not the least of which is that the
world lacks a hydrogen fueling infrastructure. Even
executives from oil companies like BP and Shell are
calling for government leadership.

Alternative energy and efficiency could be among the
most potent weapons in America's fight to enhance its
national security and improve its economic prospects
if only it commanded as much attention as missile
defense or stealth bombers. It's time for Congress
to stop pandering to the short-term interests of its
political patrons and take energy security seriously.


Love and Light
Swannie

bansidhe
October 21st, 2001, 07:55 AM
tankies for the info swannie, even tho im not american, i would hope that if something similar happened in australia or ireland, that other nationalities would jump in! :)
take care and brightest blessings,
bans. :bubbles: