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Some Common Ground on Energy Policy But There is No Turning Back

One of the things I learned over the last seven decades is this:  if you have two or more opposing sides in a conflict, look for common ground as a place to begin.

I find common ground with Representative Morgan Griffith when he says:

For families budgeting to heat their homes and fill their gas tanks and for meeting the demands of our economy, energy policy is important. The geopolitical importance of energy policy must also be appreciated: energy equals power on the world stage.”

I agree with him 100% that a reset is needed, BUT we must not make the same mistakes we made in the past.  Someone a lot wiser than me said “if you do the same thing expecting a different result you are insane.” Let us be passionate, but let us also be wise and not repeat the mistakes of the past.

Representative Griffith does not stand alone on this issue.  Representatives Cline and Good are in his “amen corner” echoing his case for a “reset” of America’s energy policy and a return to the mire of carbon production.  The trio continues with the same old song even though we are already facing billions of dollars to clean up the mess carbon extraction caused not just for our generation but for our children and their children.

They are a little late to the party.

A reset of American energy policy has already been happening as we have valiantly started to wean ourselves off our lust for more and more fossil fuels.  The sleeping giant of domestic energy production has already been awakened as evidenced by the growth in safe, clean alternative energy sources.

If what is happening in Ukraine has taught us anything, it is that we cannot be beholding to tyrants.

Russia only has fossil fuels to use as a bargaining chip. They are terrified that Europe and the USA are developing alternative energy as quickly as possible.

We as a nation could have been in a much better position on the world stage if alternative energy production had not been hindered by our three Congressional representatives and those who came before them who were tied to fossil fuel money.

I personally know and respect both Cline and Griffith. We actually agree on many things. But when it comes to our state and our country’s dependence on oil, gas and coal we must part ways.

The actions of Vladimir Putin are reprehensible. The best way to get his attention is to tell him to keep his oil—we are no longer buying. We can do that without going backwards in our transition from fossil fuels to clean, safe alternative domestic energy production.

Put a price on carbon. We should have done it sooner, but now there is urgency and there is no excuse.

Drawing on thousands of academic studies from around the globe, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body dedicated to providing policymakers with regular assessments of the warming world found that climate change is already causing “dangerous and widespread disruption” to the natural world, as well as billions of people around the planet. Failure to curb pollution from fossil fuels, it says, will condemn the world to a future that is universally dangerous.

Tell Russia “We are not insane. We are resolved.”  We want to free ourselves from energy dependence not only from Russia, but from Saudi’s Arabia as well.

New technologies are already being developed at warp speed. The energy landscape is changing daily. For instance, six abandoned mining sites owned by the Nature Conservancy will be transformed into some of the first utility-scale solar farms built in Virginia.  Lou Wallace, Board of Supervisors chairperson for Russell County, Va., is pushing for counties in the coal fields to diversify their economies. She’s been promoting the beauty of the area’s rivers and mountains for recreation and tourism. Her family relied on coal for generations.

We’re very proud to be an energy-producing community,” she says when asked about the new solar farms being built on abandoned coal mines. “This is helping us to reimagine how we produce the energy. So we’re still able to say we’re keeping the lights on somewhere.”

American ingenuity and our pioneering spirit is capable of supporting  this reset of our energy policy today while helping create new jobs and cleaning up the problems left in the wake of our reliance on fossil fuels. Americans overwhelmingly support a transition to alternative energies. This is especially true for the generation who will inherit our mistakes.

Let our elected representatives in SW Virginia know you understand what is at stake.  Tell them you want them to join a bipartisan effort to transition from fossil fuels to alternative energy.  Tell them to put a price on carbon.

Joy Sylvester-Johnson

Roanoke Citizens Climate Lobby




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