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Green Party calls House energy bill dangerously weak, urge stronger steps against global warming

Greens give a thumbs-down to the House energy bill, urge Obama and the Senate to pass stronger anti-global warming legislation

The Green Party’s national Eco-Action Committee is sharply criticizing an energy bill passed in the US House (HR 2454), calling the legislation dangerously inadequate and a concession to polluting industries.

Greens, currently preparing for the party’s 2009 annual national meeting in Durham, North Carolina, are urging the US Senate and President Obama to reject the bill and instead enact stronger policies to curb global warming.  The meeting takes place from July 23 to 26 (http://www.ncgreenparty.org/2009-ANM.html);

“The Energy Bill passed by the US House of Representatives is not a transition to a sustainable energy future,” said Audrey Clement, a Virginia Green and member of the Eco-Action Committee.  “It moves us in the wrong direction by subsidizing more coal and nuclear power, and it”s far too weak in its support of earth-gentle renewable energies
and in its effort to reduce carbon emissions.”

Greens called the the bill’s cap on greenhouse gas emissions a fraction of what it should be and said that the cap is undermined by the allowance of annual “offsets” that allow polluters to keep polluting.  “These offsets are a handout to large corporations,” said Ms. Clement.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s projections show that the legislation’s cap-and-trade system and provisions that restrict legal efforts to block coal projects will lead to more coal use in 2020 than in 2005.  The EPA anticipates that conventional coal use will fall quickly after 2020, based on an expectation of new nuclear power plants coming on line.

Greens strongly oppose more nuclear power plants and call “clean coal” an industry myth, noting the catastrophic devastation that coal mining has caused in West Virginia and other states through mountaintop removal.  The Green Party supports a gradual elimination of coal and nuclear energy and a moratorium on the construction of new nuclear and coal plants.

“The destructive effects of using coal and nuclear are enormous and well known,” said Derek Iversen of the Green Party of California. “It’s imperative that we phase out these industries as soon as possible, yet this bill does exactly the  0pposite.”

Greens said that the Renewable Energy Standard (RES) in the bill will have little effect, since it sets a goal of only 15% by 2020, and warned that the bill promotes trash incinerators and biomass burners despite the considerable greenhouse gases they emit.

The Green Party calls for aggressive policies to develop alternative energies such as wind, solar, and geothermal, with an emphasis on bioregional self-sufficiency.

“Nuclear and coal power as well as bio-fuels that appropriate needed agricultural land, hike food prices, draw down critical water tables, and degrade soils should be no part of the solution,” said Gini Lester, a member of the Illinois Green Party. “We need to move away from corporate business-as-usual and get serious about real energy

“We can achieve energy independence and more effectively address climate change through the strategic use of alternative energies such as wind and solar, and through increased efficiency and conservation,” said Wes Rolley, co-chair of the Eco-Action Committee.  “There can be no single solution that solves all of our problems; rather, there will be a host of smaller solutions, rooftop solar, in-stream hydro, etc. The key is to make them all work together.”

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