Northwest NEWS

October 8, 2001

Editorial

You can make a positive difference

Our national security is under serious consideration, but Senator Inhoffe's amendment to the defense appropriations bill (S. 1416) is not a rational energy or national security plan. It provides millions in grants to traditional fossil fuel producers for the next 10-12 years. It opens the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to exploration in hopes of giving the United States a six-month supply of petroleum, and we would have to wait 10 years to receive it. While it provides user grants for alternative energy, they will cover new and old installations for only the next five years.
   Apparently, some industries are hoping to use the current alarm in our country for their own financial benefit. We also have many people in our own government with strong and direct ties with the oil, coal and nuclear industries. I would hope that all would provide unbiased leadership to the public, but that's not always the case. Our leaders and we, the citizens, must be vigilant and make wise decisions in all areas, especially during a crisis such as the one we are currently facing. It's important that we not destroy what's left of our pristine natural lands simply because we're desperate to solve another lingering problem. Destroying the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would not solve our national security problem. It would only add to further degradation of our planet.
   Reasonable energy solutions must be sustainable for the long haul. Energy that is clean, safe and renewable, such as solar and wind, will allow us to provide energy for generations to come. Much of our vulnerability stems from the fact that we're so dependent on fossil fuels that worldwide are quickly being used up. It's also a fact that we're wasting tremendous amounts of energy. This is quite troubling when you consider that the sources for that energy are limited. This habit of shortsighted and wasteful behavior is not sustainable and is a recipe for future disaster. When fossil fuels are gone, they are gone. Large-scale, comprehensive conservation will save more petroleum than we could ever find in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, and it will buy us time while we wean ourselves off dead-end energy sources like oil, coal and nuclear. Our future and our national security depend on true energy independence. Alternative energy technology is available now. The manufacturing ability, brains, sun and wind are already here.
   What we need is the will to pursue an inevitable and rational future to create new jobs that are responsive to our current needs, improve the quality of our environment for our children and grandchildren, improve our national security and invest in our sustainable future. We do not need to pursue old, outdated technology that pollutes, warms our atmosphere, puts nuclear waste where no one wants it and wastes our tax money on an investment that has no real future.
   This is an exciting and interesting time to be alive. I trust that our nation will commit to developing the technology for using renewable energy now, rather than later. I would rather give up nonrenewable, polluting and dangerous energy sources now, while we still have a choice, than to wait until it is no longer a choice. Investing in a renewable, clean and safe energy will lead us to energy independence and a sustainable future for all. Please call, write or e-mail your senators, representatives and the president to voice your opinion on this very important matter. You really can make a positive difference.
   Karen Hertz, Bothell