April 25, 2002: Headlines: COS - Cameroon: Journalism: Speaking Out: Environment: Madison Capital Times: Cameroon RPCV Margaret Krome says Feds Need Energy Education

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Cameroon: Special Reports: Camerooon RPCV and Political Columnist Margaret Krome: June 8, 2000: Headlines: COS - Cameroon: Journalism: Speaking Out: Antibiotics: Livestock: Madison Capital Times: Cameroon RPCV Margaret Krome says Antibiotics Used As Industrial Livestock Growth Booster Puts Us All In Peril : April 25, 2002: Headlines: COS - Cameroon: Journalism: Speaking Out: Environment: Madison Capital Times: Cameroon RPCV Margaret Krome says Feds Need Energy Education

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-141-157-13-244.balt.east.verizon.net - on Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 1:39 pm: Edit Post

Cameroon RPCV Margaret Krome says Feds Need Energy Education

Cameroon RPCV Margaret Krome says Feds Need Energy Education

Cameroon RPCV Margaret Krome says Feds Need Energy Education

Feds Need Energy Education
by Margaret Krome

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Whitman's Madison visit to the UW Children's Hospital on Wednesday should offend parents of asthmatic children as well as citizens angry at President Bush's stonewalling on global warming.

Whitman's visit to promote Bush's so-called Clear Skies Initiative is only a little less repugnant than Bush's cynical show on Monday for reporters in the Adirondack Mountains. After not signing the Kyoto Protocol on global warming last year, he had promised a policy response of his own.

But he, who has done everything possible to foster greater national dependence on petroleum and cut enforcement of air pollution regulations, fools nobody with his attempts to camouflage his hostility to the Clean Air Act under this weak initiative.

Bush's phony initiative doesn't even address carbon dioxide reductions, although that's the principal global warming pollutant. Further, his plan has been estimated to allow 450,000 tons more nitrogen oxides, 1 million tons more sulfur dioxide and 9.5 tons more mercury than under the Clear Air Act.

Completing implementation in 2018, the Bush plan pokes along at a leisurely pace six to 10 years after the Clean Air Act's deadlines for action are past.

But his plan doesn't actually enforce anything anyway. Rather than horrify industrial interests with accountability, Bush proposes voluntary emissions standards. And to not inconvenience the gentlefolk of industry, there's no need to report progress toward meeting those standards, either.

Criticized as being too lax even by many Republicans, including New York Gov. George Pataki, who accompanied Bush on Monday, Bush and Whitman try to sell Clear Skies as a problem-solving, market-based proposal. But rather than trying to convince Wisconsinites of the benefits of Bush's sham initiative, Whitman could have used her visit better to learn from us how to craft initiatives where clean air and strong business interests actually do support each other.

For example, the state is on the brink of regulating mercury emissions, with 90 percent reduction over 15 years, compared to the Bush proposal's 70 percent reduction by 2018. In 1999, Wisconsin passed a "renewable portfolio standard," which requires utilities to get a certain minimum amount of electricity from renewable resources.

At the same time, the Legislature passed and Gov. Tommy Thompson signed an energy-related Public Benefits program to support energy conservation, promote research and development of renewable energy alternatives, and reduce consumer costs within a flexible market-based framework. These initiatives passed with strong support by environmental, low-income, consumer, business, senior citizen, labor and many utility advocates.

Energy conservation may not be photogenic, but it's a workhorse for clean air and saves citizens money. Energy experts estimate that each dollar of energy efficient investment saves ratepayers two to three dollars on electricity and gas bills.

Just the Public Benefits fund's program to make residences more energy efficient is estimated to have already saved 7 million kilowatt hours of electricity plus 100,000 therms of natural gas since last June. Every bit of conserved energy saves on the costly construction of new power plants and reduces noxious emissions into the air.

Even in Wisconsin, sound programs like the Public Benefits fund get squeezed in tough budget times. Supporters successfully fought Assembly efforts to cut $20 million from the Public Benefits program last summer. But the current budget squeeze has encouraged Assembly Republicans to again propose taking $45 million from the $62 million energy efficiency fund and eliminate it entirely in 2004.

Recognizing this program's value, the Senate makes moderate cuts but preserves the program so it continues to save ratepayers money, reduce the need for new plants and help keep the air clean. This sensible approach is one from which Bush and Whitman could learn.

Margaret Krome is a Madison resident.

Copyright 2002 The Capital Times

When this story was posted in December 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: Madison Capital Times

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Cameroon; Journalism; Speaking Out; Environment



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