It's time for congress to start supporting local, individual efforts to create American independence... and to protect them from selfish neighbors.
In south Jersey, Michael Mercurio built a windmill on his property, and got it approved by his township, zoning-wise. Then, some neighbors went to court, claiming the township didn't follow zoning rules.
They claim it is too loud-- right, like as loud as a refrigerator, and not as loud as some air conditioners.
Mercurio says that the combination of the windmill and the solar cells he's put on his house have cut his electric bill from about $350 a month to under $10 a month. More important, he says that this is a way the US can decrease its dependence on foreign oil. The International Herald tribune reported, "It just makes sense," said Mercurio, who is 61 and runs a company selling and installing windmills. "This is a clean, renewable source of energy."
Now, he has not built a massive tower. Matter of fact, his windmill doesn't seem to be that different than any picturesque wind vane. But some of his neighbors hired a lawyer to go after him. And they lawyer has covered their cowardly butts by telling them not to speak to the press. You want to talk about people selling out America for selfish reasons. It starts with people like these.
Imagine if ten million home owners had wind mills and solar cells like Mercurio, each saving $340 a month in energy bills. That would produce a savings of over 40 billion dollars a year. That's a lot of barrels of oil. Imagine the US offering tax breaks that would reimpburse the costs of adding the windmills and solar panels to homes-- if US goods and services were used. It would Create tens of thousands of jobs.
But then there are Mercurio's Beach haven NJ neighbors, Patricia Caplicki and John Miller. They're blocking this obvious way to do good things for America. And they are not alone. Neighbors are selfishly blocking creative alternative energy approaches all over the nationi.
Congress needs to pass laws that make it easier for local citizens to personally contribute to the solution to our energy problems. Beside passing legislation that gives tax breaks for investing in domestic alternative wind and solar technology, congress should include legislation that prevents local selfish neighbors from hassling and delaying "green" neighbors from installing alternative energy technologies.
Mercurio is being jerked around by the legal system, thanks to his selfish neighbors. He says, "People always say, 'Not in my backyard, not in my backyard,' " he said. "I want to flip it around. It should start in my backyard."
He's right. If legislators gave tax breaks to home owners, and even renters, and helped companies, maybe even giving them tax breaks too, rather than oil companies, We could start cutting into our dependence on energy and start encouraging other individuals and companies to develop more new and innovative ways to move the US towards greater energy independence.
Be assured, the oil companies will attack any such plans. They'll call it anti-neighborhood. They'll fund fake, shell organizations to attack it, fund local neighborhood attackers. They'll call it socialized, governmentalized energy, just like the health insurers have attacked universal health care.
Expect legislators from oil-rich states, like Ted Stevens, of Alaska, to block this legislation. But this legislation would be good for America—patriotic, and it should be titled as such. Call it the “Set America Free Alternative Energy Bill.”
This is a bill that should receive bi-partisan support. It’s way past due. Take the money directly from the welfare money the big oil companies have been receiving.