(Previously Published August 11, 2010, in The Bristol Democrat)
Here in the United States we should have already moved to clean energy. Locally in Bristol Virginia, the renovation of the old train station added geothermal, and Bristol Tennessee is building a trash-to-energy plant. Wind energy is sufficient in many places to take a significant load and reduce burning of oil and coal, particularly in coastal areas and the plains states. Ethanol is easy to produce from many products that are renewable, including corn and various grasses. Alive and well in Japan is the plasma converter technology that would let us clean up trash dumps, hazardous waste sites, and even maybe clean out some of those valleys and slag heaps where we have dumped the refuse from mountaintop removal.
Why are we still pumping carbon into our atmosphere? Because our senators and congressmen and the leaders of government and industry receive unbelievable amounts of money from dirty energy producers, and these leaders manage to turn legislation to maintain our dependence on fossil fuels, oil and coal. This is happening in spite of the lives that have been lost in wars that are directly related to our foreign oil dependency, and in spite of the damage done to our coastlines by oil spills. It continues in spite of the documented effect of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, and the documented leaching of poisons and heavy metals from the washing of coal into the ground water in Appalachia. A new website introduced by Oil Change is tracking the money that is keeping a stranglehold on clean energy, and making these associations visible is a major step forward to clean energy. The website is Dirty Energy Money, located at http://dirtyenergymoney.com/index.php. Dirty Energy Money a user-friendly site with great graphics and easy-to-understand presentation. It lets you track where your individual senators and representatives stand in the energy equation.