Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Coal and nuclear can't be a "stimulus"

Carl Pope in his new Sierra Club blog Take the Initiative wrote about how exicited he is about everything our new President is doing for the environment. However there are a few things we have to keep our eyes wide open about!

I noticed a couple of days ago that the "alternative energy" part of the stimulus package includes some support for nuclear. Today I also read that it includes support for "clean" coal, which I've been ranting about through quite a few posts here.

When you think of all the emails we've sent to our congressmen and senators, and to candidate Obama it makes you wonder how they could continue to waste money on such things, when real sustainables, solar, wind, geothermal, new hydropower and some versions of biofuels, are what will really make a difference, both in terms of jobs, CO2, clean air, our health, and ultimately our personal bank accounts.

Here is the email I received from CREDO Action that mention "clean" coal, with the link they provided to contact your Senators, since the stimulus package is in their ball-court now.) Of course I'm maining interested in their first suggestion, but I agree with the others as well. (The 5th one is there because CREDO/Working Assets competes with Verizon on long distance and cellphones.)

This week, the Senate will consider a mind-bogglingly large stimulus package — the latest figures put it somewhere in the neighborhood of $900 billion. Here at CREDO, we believe a stimulus package this large is necessary because our economy is in dire straits. But there is a right and a wrong way to stimulate the economy. Join us in asking the Senate not to screw up the stimulus in five easy steps:

  1. Get rid of a $2 billion provision for "clean coal" plants. Instead, invest this money in green infrastructure and alternative energy development.
  2. Invest in infrastructure, not tax cuts. Don't reward businesses that got us into this mess with tax cuts that won't create new jobs in the future.
  3. Reinstate the Medicaid Family Planning State Option. Funding state healthcare programs for women will protect jobs of healthcare workers and make sure women living in or on the edge of poverty get the care they need.
  4. Include meaningful bankruptcy reform. Bankruptcy judges should regain the ability to restructure mortgages (that is, lower the amount owed and the interest rate, reflecting the lower value of the house) so that borrowers can stay in their homes.
  5. Don't give Verizon $1.6 billion in tax cuts without generating a single new job. Money originally earmarked to encourage companies to bring high speed internet to underserved low-income and rural communities has turned into a billion dollar giveaway to big telecom.

The stimulus package will never be perfect, nor will it please everyone. However, these five key suggestions can help to make it the kind of package that will truly help our economy and aid those Americans who need it the most.

So here's one more opportunity to fight dirty coal. I hope they listen this time. Otherwise they're just throwing money down the coal mine, or might I say "tilting with windmills?"

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