[unrev-II] Robert Redford warns of Oil Lobby

From: Jack Park (jackpark@thinkalong.com)
Date: Mon Nov 05 2001 - 10:07:17 PST

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    This was forwarded to me by Jo-Shing Yang, Howard Liu's friend. Robert
    Redford, yes, the same fellow you see in the movies, is an advocate of
    conservation and caring about our planet. He wrote a forward to my book
    _The Wind Power Book_ some 20 odd years ago; I believe that his thoughts
    here reflect many of mine as well. The issues dealt with in this letter
    are clearly of interest to many who would look for appropriate applications
    for OHS technology.

    Speaking of which, fwiw, I recently heard of a terrific project for
    constructivist education: ask the kids to figure out what happens if the
    living standard of a nation the size of, say, India, were raised such that,
    on average, each individual could enjoy one beer each day. The "street"
    has it that this would be impossible because there isn't enough grain
    production capability. OHS, indeed! Go figure...

    This is a thoughtful letter by Robert Redford alerting us to the oil
    lobby's proposed Senate legislation and advocating instead the need for
    conservation measures to reduce our dependency on both foreign and domestic
    Dear Friend,

    It is understandable that we Americans feel an almost reflexive need
    for unanimity in trying times like these. As a nation, we are rightly
    consumed with responding to the terrorist attacks on September 11th.
    But, at some point -- and I think we're beginning to get there -- we
    need to take a long-term view even as we are reacting to the current
    crisis. Really important domestic issues facing us before all of this
    happened -- education, energy and the environment, health care --
    still have the same dimension and consequence. But we have to
    recognize that it's much more difficult to discuss and debate them in
    the aftermath of Sept. 11th. Unfortunately, disagreement is sometimes
    characterized as unpatriotic during times such as these and open,
    thoughtful discourse is somewhat muted. The gravity of the current
    situation is not lost on any of us and we all want to do what's right
    to insure our national security. It is with this in mind that I felt
    compelled to write you today.

    A handful of determined U.S. senators, encouraged by the White House,
    are arguing that national security requires the Senate to rush a
    pro-oil energy bill into law. They have vowed to hold up normal Senate
    business and attach the bill to every piece of legislation that comes
    to the Senate floor. So far they have failed in what The Boston Globe
    is calling "oil opportunism." But with President Bush, himself, now
    calling for rushed passage of this disastrous bill, intense pressure
    is building on Senate leaders to succumb to the emotions of the
    moment. Using our national tragedy as an opportunity to advance the
    narrow interests of the oil lobby would not be in the best interest of
    the public. This bill, already passed by the House, would not only
    open the Arctic Refuge to oil rigs, it would also pave the way for
    energy companies to exploit and destroy pristine areas of Greater
    Yellowstone and other gems of our natural heritage. As important, it
    would do nothing to address energy security.

    I'm asking for your immediate help in stopping this legislation. After
    reading my letter I hope you'll take action at
    and then forward this letter to your friends and colleagues.

    Last spring, the Bush administration and some members of Congress said
    we had to pass the president's oil-friendly energy bill because we
    were facing the most serious energy crisis since 1973. But here we
    are, a mere six months later, and the energy crisis has vanished. Due
    to a slowing economy and falling demand, the prices for gasoline,
    natural gas and home heating oil have plunged. Meanwhile, the
    much-feared "summer of blackouts" in California never happened,
    largely because consumers and businesses made dramatic cuts in energy
    use by launching the most successful statewide conservation campaign
    in history.

    With no energy crisis to scare us with, the administration and pro-oil
    senators are now promoting their "Drill the Arctic" plan under the
    guise of national security and energy independence. Don't buy it. It
    would take ten years to bring Arctic oil to market, and when it
    arrives it would never equal more than two percent -- a mere drop in
    the bucket -- of all the oil we consume each year. Our nation simply
    doesn't have enough oil to drill our way to energy independence or
    even to affect world oil prices.

    We possess a mere 3 percent of the world's oil reserves, but we
    consume fully 25 percent of the world's oil supply. We could drill the
    Arctic Refuge, Greater Yellowstone, and every other wildland in
    America and we'd still be importing oil, still be paying worldwide
    prices for domestic oil, and still be vulnerable to wild gyrations in
    price and supply. As The Atlanta Constitution put it: "Burning through
    our tiny oil supply faster will not make our country more secure." I'd go
    further: increasing our dependence on oil, whether that oil comes
    from the Persian Gulf or the Arctic Refuge, practically guarantees
    national *insecurity*. And we know that it will bring more habitat
    destruction, more oil spills, more air pollution, and more global
    warming. The public health implications will be devastating.

    If our nation wants to declare energy independence, then we have no
    choice but to reduce our appetite for oil. There's no other way. We
    need to rely on smarter and cleaner ways to power our economy. We have the
    technology right now to increase fuel economy standards to 40
    miles per gallon. If we phased in that standard by 2012 we'd save 15
    times more oil than the Arctic Refuge is likely to produce over 50
    years. We could also give tax rebates for existing hybrid gas-electric
    vehicles that get as much as 60 mpg. We could invest in public
    transit. We could launch an "Apollo Project" to bring fuel cells and
    hydrogen fuel down to earth, allowing us to begin the mass production
    of vehicles that emit only water as a by-product. The list goes on and

    In this climate of national trauma and war, it is up to us -- the
    people -- to ensure that reason prevails and our natural heritage
    survives intact. The preservation of irreplaceable wildlands like the
    Arctic Refuge and Greater Yellowstone is a core American value. I have
    never been more appreciative of the wisdom of that value than during
    these past few weeks. When we are filled with grief and unanswerable
    questions it is often nature that we turn to for refuge and comfort.
    In the sanctuary of a forest or the vastness of the desert or the
    silence of a grassland, we can touch a timeless force larger than
    ourselves and our all-too-human problems. This is where the healing
    begins. Those who would sell out this natural heritage -- this
    spiritual heritage -- would destroy a wellspring of American strength.
    What's worse, their rush to exploit the wildness that feeds our souls
    won't do a thing to solve our energy problems.

    There are plenty of sensible and patriotic ways to guarantee our
    nation's energy security, but destroying the Arctic Refuge is not one
    of them. Please tell that to your senators. They urgently need to hear
    it because the pressure is on to move this pro-oil bill to a vote in
    the next few weeks. It will take you only a minute to send them an
    electronic message from NRDC's SaveBioGems website.

    Go to <http://www.savebiogems.org/arctic/index.asp?src=ab0110a>

    And please forward this message to your family and friends. Millions
    of Americans need to know about this cynical attempt to promote the
    interests of energy companies at the expense of everyone else.

    Sincerely yours,
    Robert Redford

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