Ignore and make worse strategy

Feb 4 2018 Letter-to-the-Editor by Eric Engle, Parkersburg, WV
The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

The White House is reportedly seeking a 72 percent budget cut for the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and a reduction of the number of staff at the Office from 680 in the 2017 budget to 450 in the 2019 budget, according to The Hill newspaper and the Washington Post.

In the period 1979 to 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget in real dollars, according to an Environmental Defense Fund analysis, has seen a 55 percent reduction, even as the U.S. population has grown by 100 million people since then and our economy has doubled. Meanwhile, other federal agencies have seen an average 26 percent increase in their budgets during this time frame.

As I write, the House Energy Committee of the West Virginia House of Delegates is considering HB 4363, a bill “creating a tax credit for a manufacturer or power generating facility in West Virginia that purchases and uses coal, oil or gas.” Delegates Bill Anderson and John Kelly, Chair and Vice-Chair respectively of the House Energy Committee and Delegates from House District 8 (Anderson) and District 10 (Kelly) in Wood County, are cosponsors of the bill.

We need to be investing heavily in and incentivizing in our tax code renewable energy/battery storage, energy efficiency and sustainable development/agriculture. We need a revenue-neutral carbon tax like the Carbon Fee and Dividend proposal from Citizens’ Climate Lobby. What we’re doing instead is ignoring our climate crisis and ignoring clean water, air and soil and public health and safety.

On top of this willful blindness, we’re also abandoning our economy, especially in West Virginia, to the dustbin of a dirty energy past. Write, call, or Resistbot (text “Resist” to 504-09) today and tell your Congresspersons and Senators (who control the purse strings) and your Delegates and State Senators to start working toward a clean energy and sustainable future and to stop dooming posterity by living in the past.

Eric Engle