The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


February 4, 2014

Moral responsibility to act soon

— I’m writing in response to your editorial that discusses Governor Corbett’s energy plan. A plan which appears to be no plan at all, but just something which says let’s have more of the same. It is just another sell out to the fossil fuel industry which has paid handsomely for the governor’s support.

No rational person could seriously consider the governor’s proposal as one that is not heavily weighted toward his benefactors rather than what is best for the citizens of this state.  

Your editorial fails to even mention any of the serious consequences of fossil fuels. Oil tank cars destroying towns. Oil pipelines dumping oil into the Kalamazoo River, the town of Mayflower, Ark. flooded with oil, thousands of gallons flooding a farmer’s fields, and don’t forget the Gulf spill. Children going to emergency rooms with acute asthma attacks. The premature death of thousands each year. The blowing apart of mountains and streams which flow orange.

More than 100 public water supplies made undrinkable by coal ash. Fish contaminated with mercury. Air pollution that makes people ill. This list could fill many pages.

The fossil fuel industry has caused the premature deaths of many more people than the Mafia ever has. You failed to consider climate change. If we are to give our children and grandchildren a climate that we would recognize, we have to limit future CO2 emissions to 565 gigatons. At our current rate we will reach this limit in 15 years.

The governor’s plan does nothing to prevent this from happening. If we use just 20 percent of the known fossil fuels reserves we will pass this level. While you mention clean energy, it certainly doesn’t get first billing. The state programs we have had have been successful, but they are far too limited. They are programs that were put in place before Mr. Corbett took office. A bill to increase the tier one requirements for the Alternate Energy Portfolio Standards is not moving in the legislature and you can bet Mr. Corbett and his Republican allies won’t work for its passage.

Jobs are important, but they shouldn’t come at the expense of human or environmental health. Clean energy is a win, win situation. We can eliminate the hazards presented by fossil fuel extraction, shipping, and burning while we produce many more jobs. Clean energy produces three jobs for every fossil fuel job. Efficiency saves consumers real dollars.

While we can’t eliminate fossil fuels immediately, clean energy is already technologically ready to take its place. It will take some time, but it is something that must be addressed right now. We have already wasted too many years. We can make this change without affecting the quality of our lives. We must start now or our children and grandchildren will pay a heavy price for our selfishness and ignorance.

We can no longer let the corporate-funded deniers muddy the science of climate change. It is a fact the CO2 levels are higher than civilized man has ever known.

The earth’s climate is warming, a measured fact. With great confidence climate scientists have concluded that it the result of man’s activity. We have a moral responsibility to act with great resolve and action to take on the challenge of climate change. We must take on the fossil fuel industry which puts their profits ahead of the welfare of everyone’s children and grandchildren.

Jack D. Miller,

Center Township, Snyder County

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