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A Dose of Energy-Related Reality

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At some point in time, somehow, Virginia’s public officials, and Americans in general, blinded themselves with the belief that “what’s good for the various energy industries is good for the rest of America as well.” Or so this seems to be the thought-process behind so many clearly wrong-sided policies that favor increased energy extraction and use at the expense of human and environmental health. One question that arises is how far this madness will go before Americans in general and Virginians in particular say “no more!”

The current protests on Wall Street and the world-wide demonstrations surrounding renewable forms of energy attest to the growing anger and frustration over misguided, unethical, and unfair policies that have become a feature of the American landscape. But in a country such as ours where innovation is touted as a virtue par excellence, we as a country appear to have shrunk beneath the concept of “business of usual,” even in the face of growing signs of negative ramifications stemming from man-made actions. We have allowed this to happen and we can provide the solutions to this integral problem.  

Governor McDonnell and his political allies, for one, appear to think that Virginians are resigned to allow them whatever space they desire to construct a paradise of nonrenewable forms of energy. Perhaps they have good reason to feel this way. But in the face of so many growing environmental concerns, their plans to extract every last natural resource that can be combusted has come increasingly under the gun.

Virginians were promised a clean energy future and that’s exactly what we expect, not excuses to the contrary or foot-dragging. If power companies cannot afford clean energy technologies in the short term then subsidize them with the money that is being used to subsidize Big Oil and Big Coal. We also need to wipe away the myth that something called “clean coal” exists. I heard this come from the mouth of a senior coal executive at my place of work. But that’s not the real world. The real world is people dying slowly of coal-related cancer and other nasty diseases/illnesses. And that’s what Virginia needs, a big dose of reality, not the dream world of “clean coal” and nonexistent global climate change.