Jay Rockefeller promotes future climate disasters - Printable Version
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Jay Rockefeller promotes future climate disasters - Willinois - 12-17-2010 06:22 PM
It's bad enough that Harry Reid refused to hold a vote on a serious energy bill for the past two years. It's worse that he apparently doesn't plan to hold a vote on a major clean energy bill during the lame duck session either. But it would be absolutely infuriating if he bowed to the demand of coal industry stooge Jay Rockefeller to hold a vote on stopping the EPA from regulating global warming pollution.
The EPA is currently writing regulations that would apply to major new sources of global warming pollution like coal power plants. It's not enough to solve the problem, but in the absence of a climate change bill, it would keep us from stupidly digging ourselves even deeper into the hole. If the histrionic opposition of the fossil fuel industry is any indication, then the new regulations should make a significant impact.
Apparently not content with the fact that cap-and-trade died, Jay Rockefeller is working to make sure the Senate holds a vote to stop even the fallback measure of EPA regulation for the next two years.
His official statement claims, “I have spent this year fighting to make sure that Congress, not the EPA, determines how best to reduce greenhouse gases in a way that protects West Virginia’s economy."
If that were true, he would be demanding a vote on a clean energy bill rather than an attempt to undermine the Clean Air Act.
In September of 2009 his office issued a different statement which puts the double-talk in context. "Senator Rockefeller is fighting hard to make sure any Senate energy legislation secures a strong and prosperous future for coal -- and he will keep a strong voice for West Virginia and coal in the debate,"
In other words, he spent two years ensuring that no clean energy bill would come to a vote unless it's loaded with subsidies and exemptions for the coal industry. We can't blame only the Republicans for this one. Reid didn't bring a strong clean energy bill to a vote because it has opposition within the Democratic caucus.
The world is waiting for leadership from the United States as they look for climate change solutions. And the Unites States waits for action by the Senate. On this issue, Reid allowed his legislative body to become the world's roadblock.
RE: Jay Rockefeller promotes future climate disasters - CraigGrant - 12-17-2010 09:29 PM
This shows how difficult it is going to be to transition to a post carbon economy.
West Virginians don't have a lot of employment options and they don't want to give the high paying coal related jobs up.
Somehow we are going to have to transition to a job based economy where everyone can have access to a reasonable job.
When I lived in Thailand in the 80's the DEA pressured the Thai government to do all kind of crop interdiction and destruction of poppy fields. There was minimal success. After a number of years the King persuaded the Thai Government to tell the Americans that they were going to do it the Thai way.
Crop destruction was stopped. The Thai government bought the poppy harvest. The next year they gave the farmers seeds and tools so that they could convert 25% of their crop to something else. After a few years the farmers were making more out of the new crops than they were the poppies (the best return was on high quality strawberries that were sold to high end hotels in Asia).
It happened again when furniture manufacturers were stripping the forests of the Teak. Subsidence farmers living on the edge of the jungle made a lot of money by helping the illegal loggers. Later the denuded forests would not provide a living for the farmers and in some cases mud slides destroyed villages. The government then reforested the areas and hired the subsidence farmers to take care of the forests. Every tree was numbered and had a tag. Within a few years the forests had returned and some commercial could take place.
My point is that we can't expect the working poor to bear the sacrifice of greening the environment. It won't work. While nationalization should be used rarely it is becoming increasingly clear that the free market does not reflect the full cost to society of mining for coal or drilling for oil. These industries should be nationalized. The prices for oil and coal should be gradually increased so that the market is forced to find other alternatives. The revenue from oil and gas should be used to find jobs for those, like coal miners in WV, who are going to lose their way of feeding their families. Unless we find a solution that works back from solving the problem of what to do with the jobs that will be lost we will not be successful. They and their representatives will fight to keep their jobs. Even Senator Franken supported coal mining in Minn in order to keep people in good jobs.
If we are going to be successful on greening the economy we have to start with employment alternatives not leave it as an unintended consequence.
RE: Jay Rockefeller promotes future climate disasters - Willinois - 12-18-2010 01:26 PM
(12-17-2010 09:29 PM)CraigGrant Wrote: My point is that we can't expect the working poor to bear the sacrifice of greening the environment.
The question you should be asking is, who will benefit the most from building a new energy infrastructure? Creating green jobs it the best economic development plan anyone has come up with. The growth of well paying construction and manufacturing jobs is coming from projects like high speed rail, building wind farms, manufacturing solar panels, plug-in hybrid cars and so on.
There's a reason why those jobs aren't being created in coal regions like West Virginia and Southern Illinois. The coal industry and their crony politicians are keeping out other economic development opportunities.
For example, there was a recent announcement of a wind turbine manufacturing plant that will open in the Chicago suburbs. It's locating there because local leaders were working hard to make it happen.
In contrast, politicians and economic development officials in downstate Illinois coal country are busy seeking grants for clean coal scams and trying to re-open old coal mines. It won't work. It's a dying industry that has never enriched any region it operated in. Their subservience to the coal industry will keep coal-dependent regions poor.
And that's the way the coal industry wants it. Why would someone mine coal if they can make a good living at a job that isn't as likely to kill them?
Things will never change in WV and other coal dependent economies until people accept that the industry is holding them down and reject the politicians who answer to coal CEOs. Rockefeller needs to stop wasting his time getting subsidies for the coal industry and start getting subsidies to build West Virginia wind farms and solar panel manufacturing plants. Otherwise, those green jobs will keep going to states and towns with leaders who eagerly embrace a clean energy future.
RE: Jay Rockefeller promotes future climate disasters - Cha - 12-18-2010 11:28 PM
(12-17-2010 09:29 PM)CraigGrant Wrote: If we are going to be successful on greening the economy we have to start with employment alternatives not leave it as an unintended consequence.Excellent point. What the heck can West Virginians to do besides mining coal?