April 7, 2009

Waiting on the Clean Energy Future

Opinion from the Myrtle Beach Sun News:

Most powerful source of energy awaits use
By Angela Lee
Sun, Apr. 05, 2009

What is the solution to America's energy needs in the future? If you ask those who stand to profit from current practices, those in the industry and their buddies in Washington, the answer is drill, drill, drill and mine, mine, mine. It's time to take a smarter approach.

There is only a finite amount of oil and coal contained within our planet. Proposed offshore drilling would pose a serious threat to South Carolina's tourism industry, natural environments and the plant and animal life they contain, and would further contribute to greenhouse gases. The Appalachian area and its inhabitants are currently suffering from out of state companies that come in to mine coal via "mountaintop removal" methods. This action dramatically, and horrifically, scars the landscape, clogs mountain streams, disrupts tap water in homes, and weakens mountain side stability, which has led to landslides in some areas where homes have been affected.

Now is the time to make smart decisions concerning energy. One step in the right direction: The EPA is putting on hold hundreds of mountain top coal-mining permits until it can establish the projects' impacts on streams and wetland. This decision was announced by EPA administrator Lisa Jackson. Under the Clean Water Act, companies cannot release rock, dirt, or debris into streams unless they can prove it will not cause permanent damage to the waterway or any fish and other wildlife it may contain. The EPA also denied two permits to the Army Corps of Engineers that would have allowed companies to fill thousands of feet of streams with mining waste in West Virginia and Kentucky.

Eventually, oil and coal will run out. Meanwhile, we have the most powerful source of energy in our solar system, the sun, waiting for us to utilize it. This is a win-win solution folks. We already have the technology, we just need the foresight and the will to move forward on this initiative. What will solar energy give us? A clean, sustainable, earth friendly source of power and jobs, American jobs, right here at home! Now is the time to make the move to smarter, cleaner energy. Let's not drag our feet on this one. Let's not create a future where our children and grandchildren ask us, why didn't we do more?

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