Tell Congress: The Earth is not for Burning
There are now two different Climate Policy bills before the US Senate. Most of the Big Media are mentioning only one -- sponsored by Senators Kerry & Lieberman. It panders to the power of Big Oil, Big Coal, Big Nukes, Big Bankers.
Yet the Gulf disaster caused by BP's arrogance should have taught us that the last thing we want to do is increase the top-down, unaccountable, irresponsible power of these Biggies.
So we support the other, far better, bill by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). It is the only one that is bipartisan. The only one that has women among its sponsors. It has supporters from parts of the environmental community but not from Big Coal, Big Oil, or Big Nukes.
Please add your own words, your own language. The more personal the letter feels when a Senator reads it, the better.
We also urge that from Sunday, July 18 through July 20, you plan a public vigil or visit to a Senator's home office in the mood of Tisha B'Av: grief for the earth, visionary action toward birthing a new planetary community. See the article above on this page, and especially the passage on actions at end of the article, for more information about Tisha B'Av, and see below about the CLEAR bill.
The K-L bill is almost a thousand pages long, the better to supply many many goodies for the Biggies. For example: Until the oil eruption in the Gulf, the draft bill opened the door wide for rampant oil drilling. Now, a little ashamed or a little scared, its authors changed it a little.
It still opens the door to drilling, but says coastal states can veto drilling near them. But to do it, they have to get the legislature to pass a law, and give up lots of Federal money. When Big Oil gets New Jersey or Florida in its sights (remember the bribes of money, drugs, & sex Big Oil used on the Minerals Management Service in Washington?) we can all kiss goodbye to the beaches, fishes, and oceans of the Atlantic Coast.
The K-L bill also gives Wall Street the gift of a system of "carbon credits" that can be sold like the "derivatives" that made such a mess of our economy in 2008.
And the K-L bill also cripples the ability of the EPA to set rules for emissions of CO2 and other heat-increasing gases, and also cripples the ability of states to set higher standards than Congress does. If those provisions stay in the bill, we and our planet are better off without it.
The Cantwell-Collins bill is much simpler. Just 40 pages long. Where K-L feeds the money to the derivatives market, Cantwell-Collins sets a national cap on CO2 emissions, has the US government auction all under-the-cap permits to emit CO2, and then passes on 75% of the auction proceeds as a dividend to every legal resident of the US -- about $1,000 a year. (So it's called "cap and dividend.")
The rest goes to research and development for solar, wind, and energy-conserving measures, and for green jobs.
Fuel costs based on carbon would rise, but the $1,000 dividend would more than pay the extra cost for working-class and middle-class families.
At The Shalom Center, we view the Collins-Cantwell bill as far far preferable. And we think there must be a halt to offshore oil drilling. So if you click here you will find a draft letter to Senators urging that Congress make strong climate/energy law the highest priority for national & global security, including these steps:
• Prohibit, at once and permanently, all new off-shore oil drilling in US waters, and end all off-shore drilling by July 4, 2020;
End all Federal subsidies to oil and coal production, and raise the liability limit from the present ridiculous $75 million to $10 billion for companies that like BP wound the earth and our country;
Channel large subsidies to research, development, and installation of energy-conserving practices, solar and wind energy production, and the creation of green jobs;
Pass strong climate-healing laws that cap all greenhouse gas emissions in the US and return fees for emissions as dividends to all legal US residents;
Encourage stricter emissions limits by the states and the EPA;
• Provide crucial support to poor countries that are already suffering from the effects of global warming, and to help them pursue a non-fossil path for economic development.