Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tim Kaine advocates fracking and Keystone XL—Why is the Sierra Club supporting this man?

Tim Kaine in 2010 (By Cliff from Arlington, Virginia, USA - DNC Chair Tim Kaine, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21010207)
The most vital issue facing the world today is the rising level of greenhouse gases in the environment, which leads to climate change. The response of the U.S. government has been to promote the use of natural gas instead of oil or coal for the production of electricity.

I recently received a letter from Tim Kaine, U.S. Senator from Virginia, reiterating in detail the talking points of the energy lobby. In his letter, Kaine ignores the one salient fact about natural gas that the energy lobby would like us to forget: Burning natural gas in the atmosphere increases the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Instead, Kaine, and his energy producing allies, states another fact, equally true but completely irrelevant:

Recent innovation in the production of natural gas has dramatically changed our nation's energy portfolio...[and results in] lower prices, cleaner American electricity, and job growth in our nation's manufacturing sector.”

This is not an argument for permitting greater production and exportation of natural gas. It is simply and blatantly and appeal to permit the energy companies to use these new procedures to make more money.

Senator Kaine, it is not the responsibility of the federal government to assure that energy companies make a profit. It is your responsibility to do everything possible to promote the well-being of the American people. You take an oath of office to preserve, protect, and defend the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Constitution protects the American people, not the profits of corporations.

In his letter, Kaine suggests that we should permit export of natural gas to foreign countries when it is in the interest of the U.S. to do so. In particular, he suggests that exporting U.S. natural gas to Europe will keep European countries from relying on Russia and Iran for their energy needs. This is an indirect approach that has the result of increasing world production of greenhouse gases. Any such policy should be abandoned immediately.

We cannot directly determine what Russia and Iran do, nor can we determine what Europe will do. We can only determine what the U.S. does. We must oppose any policy that results in the U.S. producing more greenhouse gases or enabling other countries to do so.

In regard to other environmental concerns, Kaine states that we should “always ensure that environmental safeguards in the gas production process are rigorously followed to avoid harm to drinking water sources.” Fracking is a “recent innovation”. It has not been proven safe for the environment. It has only been proven profitable for the energy companies. The history of energy companies shows that it make take years or even decades before the harm caused by new technologies is known. During that time, energy companies have proven again and again that they will lie to us about the harmfulness of their products.

The EPA is currently investigating the problems caused by fracking. It could take years to discover just how badly this new technology is degrading our environment. In the meantime, the U.S. must use every means possible to stop fracking. Kaine suggests that we do the exact opposite, that we trust the energy companies when they claim their extraction procedures are safe.

We now know for certain that no product that injects greenhouse gases into the environment is safe to use. We also know for certain that no product that pollutes ground water is safe to use.

Tim Kaine is not a friend to the environment, as he would have us believe. Instead, he is a friend to the energy moguls, like David Koch, who are using their profits from oil to buy the U.S. Congress. Kaine's opinions expressed in this letter suggest that he has already been bought.

A true friend of the environment would be proposing bills that increase use of renewable resources. He would propose increased spending on clean energy research and development. He would be decrying the actions of bought and paid for politicians who today are voting to stop any federal research into global warming.

We, the people, are not gullible, Senator Kaine. We see exactly which side of the issue you are on. Please start respecting our intelligence by making proposals that will save the environment, not destroy it.

No comments: