Friday, July 29, 2011

We are better than this

Micon wind turbine, Dithmarschen.Image via Wikipedia
Clean energy: surging in a tough economy.
As the saying goes, 'the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality.' And since I'm weary of hot places, especially after this summer's record heat (be it the result of global warming or not), I'm compelled to talk some politics.

Recently I received an alert from the environmental community that bill h.r. 2584 is still slithering across the House floor in Washington, with Congress poised to set it loose upon the world. The bill essentially strips away many sensible, important tools from the EPA and related public groups that help to keep them protecting and administering our nation's clean air and water laws. It's a full assault on America's environment and on emerging clean energy industries, coming straight from the radical wing of the Tea Party. Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA), who's been working to mitigate the controversial and hidden economic and ecologic costs of mountain-top coal removal in his region, recently described the bill as "the most anti-environmental legislation ever."

My high school recital of W.B. Yeats' words from The Second Coming stirs in my mind:

"And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"

This budget and debt debate has ruptured our country like nothing before. And because it has recently spilled into Home Science turf, I felt it was time, at least for the moment, not to 'maintain neutrality' and to wield the mighty pen with an op-ed in my local newspapers.

Hence, last week the following note from me appeared in suburban Philadelphia newspapers The Doylestown Intelligencer, The Courier Times, and The Burlington County Times...

Jobs, the Debt, and the Recovery:

The causes of the deep recession were many years in the making, and they won't be solved overnight. President Obama has made it clear that we can reduce our deficits while making investments needed to create good jobs and grow our economy — investments in job-creating areas like education, infrastructure, clean energy and cutting-edge research and technology. Investments that truly help middle-class families like mine.

Yet the GOP seems determined to block any means to foster such growth in these delicate times. The Republicans' cure all for our economy is simple-minded: a hasty elimination of debt, and by whatever immediate means available, mostly at the expense of middle-class families. In fact, one ranking Republican lawmaker said last week he's willing to cause "serious disruptions" in the economy to keep our debt ceiling from being raised.

Our president is a firewall against such recklessness. The GOP's methods include a scorched-earth policy toward jobs and investment. If Republicans get their way, later this year millions of Americans will have less money to spend, there will be less economic demand and more money will be zapped out of the economy at a time when we need it most. One might start to wonder if maybe helping the economy isn't really the GOP's top goal. 

(Link to original published article:

EPA's Lisa P. Jackson, Phila Mayor Nutter, Earth Day. Image: D.A DeMers.

Now believe me, in contrast to that letter, I'd prefer to write about home energy savings, on ways to make a furnace or boiler more efficient, on weatherization tactics, the latest advances in solar technology, wind turbines, or other items related to renewable energy and energy efficiency - the stuff we focus on here at Home Science.

Instead, I've found myself forced to step across the muck flowing from our politicians in Washington. Plainly stated, I'm just a regular middle-class guy working for a green economy who can put a sentence or two together. I am not a muckraker.

So to the politicians of any affiliation, I plead for sensibility on these issues. Please do not take away the tools we need to remain on the path of an environmentally sustainable economic future, a future that shows to the world the essence of true competitive American ingenuity.--D.A. DeMers.

Coming soon to Home Science - The State of Innovation: PA clean tech start-ups are pulling the economy to a new more energy efficient frontier. Don't get left behind!
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  1. Well said, Douglas!

    -Jonathan Brady

  2. Now that the debt ceiling law has passed, this could be a real testament to the "economic" sustainability  of clean energy sectors. Perhaps the austerity  measures and reduced reliance on public funding will show that they can be even more beneficial to Americans with regards to both economic and environmental savings potential. Despite the fact that Congress seems unlikely to make Oil companies "pay their own way," and will remained "bankrolled" by taxpayers, renewables can still remain competitive alternative.

    Bill K.

  3. You make it seem like the Tea Party is anti-middle class. In truth, the Tea Party IS the middle class. Nice try, but your letter is way out of touch with reality - Just like Obama.

    -P. Rice.

  4. All the economic changes the progressive liberals wish to force upon the rest of us need to be examined and proven necessary. The EPA has virtually stopped economic growth.

  5. That's much of an argument, and you don't even leave a name. Regardless, it's time to move forward on these issues - whether through public support or enterprise. One area gathering momentum is the business of energy management, whether by hands on methods of auditing buildings, or by new energy monitoring technologies via potentially explosive job growth areas of clean tech sector. Here's a recent article on how states are succeeding with clean energy through Clean Techies Blog.

    But to simply deny the realities of fossil fuel detriments to the lifecycle of our planet and economy is unreasonable.

    Dan Kleban.

  6. Republicans and Democrats both must understand the need to keep investing in a mix of renewable and conventional energy resources. We also need investments in infrastructure, in highways, bridges, trains, water systems. It will require revenues, but we shouldn't see it as simply raising taxes, these are user's fees. I've been a lifelong conservative - it doesn't contradict conservative thinking to believe in smart public investing.

    Susan Griffin.