Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mr. Obama, We Need Change in the Energy Market!

The quoted message below was written before I hear about President-Elect Obama's choice for Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who, according to the Reuters article Obama starts filling energy and environmental team " was an early advocate for finding scientific solutions to climate change and had guided the laboratory on a new mission to become the world leader in alternative and renewable energy research, particularly the development of carbon-neutral sources of energy." I found a PowerPoint presentation by Chu on Alternative Energy Sources from 2005. I am very hopeful now that we will be able to go forward to become a leader in working with Climate Change.
Furthermore, he has selected Nancy Sutley, Deputy Mayor for Energy and Environment of Los Angeles, to head the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Former Environmental Protection Agency chief Carol Browner will take on a new position coordinating White House policy on energy, climate and environmental issues.
Neither of these is the head of the EPA, so that position is still to be filled. These are exciting times! But thank you, President-Elect Obama, for allaying our misgivings and selecting these competent people with their hearts and minds (apparently) in the right place!

I have been receiving a continuous flow of emails from environmental organizations with their recommendations to President-Elect Obama for our future energy sources, and for the environment. These include such admirable concepts as "cap & trade," using the Big 3 Buyout (from the Sierra Club) to get them to build more environmentally friendly vehicles, supporting solar, wind and geothermal in a big way as part of the economic incentives package.

But even before the new government works on cap & trade and other energy issues, Obama has to select an Energy Secretary. This person must believe whole-heartedly in this kind of change. He must not just be green-washing a life of dirty coal, destruction of homelands and habitats, as the coal industry and the power companies that use coal currently are doing. He must not be professing that "clean-coal" is just around the corner (because it's not!) or believe that our real low CO2 future lies with nuclear.

We have to do everything we can to make sure Mr. Obama picks the right person. So far he is not on the right track. Unfortunately, according to Al Kamen in the Washington Post, Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers is on his short list, Next on Obama's Dance Card, Mother Nature. Kamen says that a decision could be announced this week, so we have to be fast.

According to an email I received this week from a Teri Blanton, who lives in Kentucky, but has managed to escape her Harlan County childhood home (who told me she "shuddered" when she read this):

Rogers would not be "change we can believe in". As head of one of the largest U.S. power companies, Rogers' idea of change is finding creative ways to "green-wash" while building coal and nuclear plants and limiting energy efficiency and renewables. Environmental and consumer groups in states where Duke operates have been challenging Rogers' actions, which grossly contradict his PR-crafted image as a visionary concerned about climate change.
Please contact all the environmental organizations you can think of, asking them to work together to create a short-list of visionary and acceptable people for this job. The new Secretary must not have any connections to the currect power, nuclear, oil or coal industries! We've been there, done that, and it's been a catastrophe!

Here are some more links about Rogers:

The email I received recommended emailing comments through the Obama website: which I have already done. Please do so as well!

This is one of 4 blog entries I've written today on environmental issues. Please read all of them!

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