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One step forward, two back: The American Power Act

One step backward: Six in 10 Americans support more offshore drilling, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. A majority believe that the potential economic benefits of offshore drilling outweigh its potential harm to the environment.

Fact: The Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 20 and began spewing oil into the Gulf two days later. It has not been stopped or even slowed down yet, 26 days later.

Fact: BP admitted that one of the key factors contributing to the difficulty stopping the oil spill is the depth at which the oil drilling occurred, 5,000 ft.

Fact: Exploratory oil companies currently have agreements that cap the limit of their liability, something the federal government is desperately trying to change.

Two steps backward: As promised the K-G-L bill, now named the Clean Energy Jobs & American Power Act was released yesterday. The  Clean Energy Jobs & American Power Act authored by Senators Kerry (D-MA) and Lieberman (I-CT) would aim at reducing GHG emissions from 2005 levels 17% by 2020, 83% by 2050, institute a cap-and-trade system for the electric sector, promote clean transportation, develop clean coal, expand nuclear power, expand offshore oil drilling as well as provide grants to states to be used for energy efficiency purposes (e.g. building codes, building labeling, low-income efficiency, etc) and cost-effective energy efficiency programs for consumers, as well as renewables, smart grid, and transportation efficiency. Also, 20% of the value of natural gas allowances and 50% of the value of heating oil allowances must be spent on energy efficiency for consumers.

The American Power Act directs 2/3 of all revenues not dedicated to reduce the deficit back to consumers as bill discounts and direct rebates. While it expands offshore drilling, the bill offers two protections for coastal states. First, states can opt-out of drilling up to 75 miles offshore. Second, states can veto drilling plans further out “if they stand to suffer significant adverse impacts in the event of an accident.”

While it will continue to be discussed, the bill has received initial praise from a diversity of key stakeholders, including Republicans for Environmental Protection; major utilities such as PG&E, Duke Energy, and Exelon; oil companies like Shell Oil; the Nuclear Energy Institute, and a host of corporations and environmental groups. Yes, you read that correctly environmental groups and considering the amount of emails that I am receiving from many well known environmental groups to support this Climate bill, it seems they have become like dogs at the table happy for the scraps they are being fed.

Just as sustainability is looked at holistically so should this proposed act. It is NOT holistic, it is not sustainable. It is fragmentally joined together by political jockeying for approval from both Democrats and Republicans. There is no vision at work here, no cohesion. The environmentalists are the little kids at the little kids table and the big utilities are sitting at the big table.

Fact: Oil and gas companies spent $82.2 million on Washington lobbyists. Wind, solar, and biofuel companies spent $12.1 million in total.

Three steps backward: A majority of Americans (52 percent) say they are willing to give up personal freedoms and civil liberties to prevent another terrorist attack. And another majority (51 percent) approve of using racial or ethnic profiling to combat terrorism.

Fact: Every forefather who helped draft and signed the Constitution are rolling over in their graves asking how we can be so cavalier with rights they fought for.

Hope?: Costner Industries Nevada Corp. founded in 1993 owned and operated by Kevin Costner and his scientist brother, Dan have developed an oil separator device that virtually cleans the oil from water. CINC centrifuge technology indirectly helps the environment by minimizing waste streams in industry by improving process efficiencies in separations, extractions, washing and reactions. Kevin Costner has offered $26 million to help aid in the cleanup. Of course, this is a possible solution after the spill has already occurred.

Hope?: FPL included their current fuel mix in the most recent edition of Energy News; natural gas 56.39%, nuclear 20.02%, purchased power 14.05%, coal 5.1%, oil 4.42% and solar 0.02%, up 0.01% from a flyer received a couple of months ago. At this rate solar should be a viable source of energy in about 600 years.

Hope: The recently revealed Clean Energy Jobs & American Power Act is described as “imperfect” by the organization is hosting the The Great Power Race . This is a clean energy competition between students in China, India and the United States.

Hope: The Clinton Global Initiative University encourages and provides a forum for students to develop socially relevant commitments that will make a direct impact and they do,and do and do.

Hope: The U.S. Green Building Council states that renewable energies are energy sources that do not deplete. Listed as renewable energy sources are wind, solar, low impact hydro, biofuel, wave or tidal, biomass, deep-earth geothermal. It does not include nuclear or burning municipal waste.

Hope: You, take action. Send a letter, call, email let the powers that be on the local, state and federal level that this is not what we want. To find representatives on the local, state and federal level, click here.

Now is the time for discussion so that a climate bill that does what it is suppose to do—support renewable energy—is passed. A climate bill with a blanket label of “clean energy” at any cost is not worth it. Think about it the next time you read what happens to the aqautic life that comes into contact with the oil. We are torturing our wildlife, raping our environment for our unprecedented and unjustified gluttonous consumption of resources as well as turning a blind eye to Louisiana’s continued economic collapse. We have solutions and bright minds that are finding ways to deal with our energy needs that need our support. Sustainability means embracing change and it cannot be gradual because we as a nation react to crisis situations not critically determined paths of action. Time for a paradigm shift; shift or get out of the way.

About Valerie J. Amor:
As an architectural consultant, LEED AP, LEED certification reviewer, real estate broker and AIA associate, Valerie J. Amor is dynamically engaged in sustainability and issues regarding the built environment. Actively participating in several local, county and national organizations and committees focused on sustainability issues, she is also owner/principal of Drawing Conclusions and founder/president of Green Collar Connection, companies engaged in sustainable design, real estate development, green job training and research. Knowledgeable and well connected she brings you timely and thoughtful articles. Reach her at .

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Posted by Valerie J. Amor on May 17 2010. Filed under Broward County, Emerging Green, Environmental, Everglades, FPL, Federal Government, Fort Lauderdale, Local news. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “One step forward, two back: The American Power Act”

  1. Valerie J. Amor

    My article is not complete without the slideshow that I had included in my column as the Fort Lauderdale Green Culture Examiner on Please be sure to check it out!


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