Yesterday, it was widely reported that our entire congressional delegation sent a letter claiming that the proposed climate legislation would hurt Alabama. This is not really a surprise, but it's unfortunate to be sure, that because we are in coal country our elected officials won't even support a bill that is considered by many environmentalists to be a watered down compromise at best and hijacked by corporations at worst.
The reports on this matter aren't anything new-it's the same old rhetoric regarding Alabama's purported lack of potential for affordable, renewable energy.
Reputable studies have shown, and the fact remains, that clean and affordable energy efficiency measures coupled with renewable energy technologies will allow us to phase out both coal and nuclear plants over the next 40 years. As writer Paul Roberts states: " Saving energy is almost always cheaper than making it: there is far more oil to be found in Detroit by designing more fuel efficient cars than could ever be pumped out of ANWR."
We know that, today, Alabama can generate an additional 51,000 GWh of electricity from available renewable energy resources, which would make total renewable power production equal to approximately 60 percent of current electricity sales. Renewable and conventional power options may be comparable in total costs for new generation, but renewable energy resources offer significant financial advantages in terms of water use, air quality, and climate impacts. Southeastern states are currently creating jobs and energy from renewable sources, as evidenced by Florida Power & Light-if our sister states can figure it out - why can't Alabama?
The bottom line is this: the issue of Climate Change and Energy Security is an issue of national security for all of us, along with the rest of the world. It seems that our elected officials are making important decisions based on data from the corporations that stand to benefit from polluter-friendly, weak energy legislation. What will they hear from their constituents? We all stand to lose if they hear nothing from us-which is what the status quo for Alabama suggests will happen.