The Sierra Club tells us that coal industry is heavily subsidized by American taxpayers to the tune of tens of billions of dollars and it’s clear that this industry’s power is not diminishing. But it should diminish. In fact, it’s so dangerous that it should be done away with altogether. In the process of mining, coal destroys waterways, ecosystems, trees, miners’ health and the health of residents of nearby communities. A well-documented example of this is the tragedy of mountain-top mining in the Appalachian Mountains, a practice which Robert Kennedy Jr., affected citizens and environmental activists continue valiantly fighting to bring to a permanent end.
When it’s burned, coal puts massive amounts of carbon in the air, and this is a main contributor to global warming which brings on drought, soaring temperatures, the rising of seas that will take over island cities and coastal areas, tsunamis, floods and drought. Coal is also a dirty fuel, so burning its puts heavy pollutants in the air that lead to poor air quality and acid rain.
Why aren’t people all over the world staging huge protests to ban coal mining and replace it with clean energy sources? It boils down to this: we’ve been supporting coal so long it’s become sort of a global institution. We can’t imagine a world without a massive coal industry any more than we can imagine a world without gas-powered vehicles, so we protect the industry even though it’s killing both us and our Earth Mother. World citizens protect our institutions. But, the truth is that clean energy is our future: it’s environmentally friendly, health friendly. It’s a massively growing jobs industry, is economically friendly and it’s also cool (in more ways than one). Can you say, win-win-win-win-win? There’s nothing wrong with protecting institutions but they need to work for us. It’s so clear that we need to give up on the old fuels that are destroying us and turn to clean energy with open arms.
For those worried about the impact that embracing clean energy will have on our economy and jobs, just look at the evidence. The Boston Herald reports,
“The growth of Massachusetts’ renewable energy economy is outpacing the overall economy nearly tenfold, according to a new report that measures clean energy sector employment and the number of businesses that use clean energy practices.”
Avaaz is working to prevent horrific environmental destruction in Australia. Please sign the petition.
Australia could let mining magnates build one of the world’s largest coal ports on top of the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem – opening access to 8 billion extra tonnes of planet-killing coal and risking the survival of this entire amazing world heritage site.
US laws which address environmental issues are the Clear Air act and Clean Water Act. They need to be strengthened and expanded.
The Clean Water Act
The River Network’s Course on using the Act to protect local waterways
The Clean Air Act
Other Proposed Legislation
2009 Waxman-Market Climate Energy bill (Died)
Everything you always wanted to know about the Waxman-Markey energy/climate bill — in bullet points and ejmatters.org/docs/Waxman-Markey_bill_summary_6-2-09.pdf
H.R. 724, the Security in Energy And Manufacturing (SEAM) Act (sponsored by Congressman Steve Rothman). If enacted, this legislation would make needed investments in a clean energy economy by rebuilding the U.S. manufacturing sector. It provides a 30% tax credit or grant to companies that open new or expanded facilities that manufacture a wide range of clean energy products, including wind turbines, solar panels, hybrid vehicle systems, carbon capture and sequestration systems, and biofuel refinery components, among others in the U.S. I strongly believe that this is the path we must take to end our dependence on both foreign and domestic oil and move toward a secure clean energy future. H.R. 724 is currently pending before the House Committee on Ways and Means.
H.R. 3307, the American Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit Extension Act of 2011 (co-sponsored by Congressman Steve Rothman). If enacted, this bill would provide a clean, 4-year extension of the existing production tax credit (PTC) for wind, biomass, geothermal, small irrigation, landfill gas, trash, and hydropower. This tax credit was created in the Energy Policy Act of 1992 and has frequently been extended in year-end packages of expiring tax provisions, as well as in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The current incentive is set to expire this year for wind and in 2013 for other renewable energy forms. Historically, at least six to eight months before the tax credit expires, financial lenders hesitate in providing capital for projects because of the uncertainty created by the pending expiration of the credit, stalling projects from coming online. This is why many of my colleagues and I believe it is imperative to pass H.R. 3307 now as our economy continues to recover. If the PTC is not renewed, those projects working under the credit will be reduced in size, will not be completed or will add costs, resulting in higher electricity prices for consumers. This measure is currently pending before the House Committee on Ways and Means.