Friday, June 11, 2010

What Now?

The latest estimates indicate that the mile-deep well in the Gulf is spewing up to 100,000 barrels of oil per day. 100,000 barrels = 4,200,000 gallons... every single day. But this post isn't about BP's Old Fateful. This is about our energy policies... or lack thereof. Here are a couple ideas of my own.

President Obama and Congress have a very unique opportunity here to write and enact green energy policies that they could have take effect immediately. The current crisis is an all-to-obvious reminder of how dangerous and deadly fossil fuels are, and how risky it is to obtain these resources. Never-mind BP's lack of a backup plan, this is President Obama's turn to rile up the Democratic base; not only to ensure victory in the midterms, but to create an energy policy that will wean us off our addiction to oil. Other maddening aspects of this crisis are the attitudes of Republican lawmakers, such as Rep. Scott Brown, who claims reducing our dependency on oil would kill people, or Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi, who claims the oil isn't dangerous. But I digress.

If I were an adviser or better yet an elected official, I would encourage drafting legislation that invests in renewable energy, beginning at local levels. A good place to start would be to change the way we power our homes and businesses, as these could EASILY be "greenified." Solar energy technology has improved dramatically over the past decade, as solar panels have become more efficient and more environmentally friendly to produce. For example, states could offer tax credits for "solarizing" one's home AND a variable tax deduction depending on how much power each solar home saves or is able to sell to energy companies (this is done all the time). Starting at the local level not only makes green energy more attainable, it even might appease Republicans who believe in state sovereignty.

State governments could also offer tax incentives AND investment funds, which would aide in the development of green power companies that provide wind and natural gas power sources. This move would not only help reduce our dependency on oil and dirty coal (there is no CLEAN coal... if it burns, it pollutes), but it would also create more competition within the energy markets, thus encouraging energy companies like PEPCO to invest in renewable sources of energy.

These are just a couple brief ideas... the fact is, we CAN have clean, renewable energy in the US... we just have to DO it. Enough with what oil companies think. Enough with corporations monopolizing markets and influencing legislation. This is Obama's chance to do what's in the best interest of the American people, and I really hope he takes advantage of it.

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