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Chapter 23: Breaking the Energy vs. Environment stalemate

“Every time I have some moment on a seashore, or in the mountains, or sometimes in a quiet forest, I think this is why the environment has to be preserved.” —U.S. Senator Bill Bradley

“Our addiction to foreign oil…is a threat to our national security, and we must address that threat. —U.S. Congressman Jim Costa

What’s wrong with America’s

energy vs. environment stalemate

  • Energy dependence. Government regulations against developing America’s great energy resources have made the United States dangerously dependent on foreign oil. This undermines our economy. As explained in the “National Security” chapter, our oil dependency also means that we are providing money to terrorists who wish to do us harm.
  • Environmental concerns. We waste far too much time arguing about the science of global warming. Let’s focus instead on how much pollution is being dumped into our air, land, and water, which can be measured objectively. The world needs to find ways to treat Mother Earth more gently. But it is also obvious that some overzealous environmental regulations are threatening our national security and hurting the economy.
  • Fickle consumers. Consumers find ways to use less energy when prices are high. Gasoline prices are a great example. When gas prices are high, people tend to buy more fuel-efficient vehicles and are more willing to consider alternative fuel vehicles. They make more use of carpooling and public transportation. They are more likely to try to live closer to their workplaces, vacation closer to home, and inquire about work-from-home options. Yet they tend to return to their old behaviors once gasoline prices go down.
  • Political stalemate. America has become more environmentally aware, but our conflicting desires for a great standard of living with lots of conveniences and a cleaner environment have created political gridlock.

How to fix our energyand environment policies

  • Energy independence. The economy and our national security should be our top short-term priorities. We simply can’t remain as dependent as we are on unstable or unfriendly foreign nations. We must relax some of the environmental regulations that are preventing us from developing our own proven sources of energy. Doing this now would also be a powerful economic stimulus at a time when we desperately need one.
  • Tax pollution instead of regulating it. The environment must be a key long-term priority. Government’s environmental regulations are costly to administer and are harming our economy and national security. Imposing higher consumer taxes on energy sources that pollute would be a more efficient and effective way to help the environment in the long-term.
  • Consumer impact of taxing pollution. If consumers knew, for example, that gasoline taxes will increase by ten cents a gallon every three months for the next ten years, they would find ways to reduce their consumption, permanently making many of the adjustments mentioned earlier in this chapter.
  • Business impact of taxing pollution. If businesses knew that national policy will be to steadily increase taxation to battle pollution, they would produce the energy we need short-term while also developing cleaner energy sources for the future. As taxes on pollution steadily increase, alternative energy sources will become increasingly viable and the incentives to develop alternatives will become stronger.
  • A gentle transition. Gradually phasing in these pollution taxes would allow consumers and businesses to make the necessary adjustments without undue harm to the economy. The income from these taxes would also allow the government to reduce other taxes as well as reducing deficit spending and the national debt.

“We need to raise gasoline and carbon taxes to discourage their use and drive the creation of a new clean energy industry, while we cut payroll and corporate taxes to encourage employment and domestic investment.” —New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman

“Liberals in Congress have spent the past three decades pandering to environmental extremists. The policies they have put in place are in large part responsible for the energy crunch we are seeing today. We have not built a refinery in this country for 30 years.” —U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn

5 Comments
  1. You’re so cool! I don’t suppose I’ve read such as this before. So nice to discover somebody by authentic applying for grants this subject. realy thank you for starting this up. this excellent website can be something that’s needed on-line, somebody with a bit of bit originality. helpful purpose of bringing something totally new towards web!

    Like

  2. Thanks, Knd. It’s time for citizens to step up and take the country back from the “experts”. The career politicians are far too influenced by special interest groups, lobbyists and big campaign contributors. This makes for confrontational “us vs. them” politics and very little common sense and compromise. Also see the Election Reform chapter.

    Like

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  1. Chapter 23: Energy & the Environment « Fixing America's Broken Politics
  2. Action Plan to Save America « Fixing America's Broken Politics
  3. Book chapters, with live links « Fixing America's Broken Politics

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