Baxter Pharr: We need open minds on energy |

Baxter Pharr: We need open minds on energy

Baxter Pharr

A recent letter to the editor criticized Sen. Mark Udall for focusing on the effects rather than the causes of the bark beetle infestation. Udall has been tireless in his efforts to get federal money to help pay for the removal of beetle-infested trees, but he has also been diligent in trying to convince Congress that our nation needs a renewable energy standard similar to Colorado’s, which requires the state’s largest utilities get 30 percent of their power from renewable sources (such as solar and wind) by 2020.

There is a wonderful analogy for mankind’s unnecessarily huge efforts to combat the effects when only a small effort is needed to stop the causes. Two men were camping out next to a river and had just started having dinner when they heard someone screaming from the river. They both rushed toward the river and, with great effort, saved a drowning person. After diving back into the river to save five more drowning victims, the two returned exhausted to their campsite where they noticed a crazy man on a bridge upstream who was throwing people into the fast moving current. With little effort they walked over and talked the lunatic out of his bizarre behavior.

To continue this analogy, the crazy man in our current pine beetle epidemic are the five Republicans on the U.S. Supreme Court who voted to give corporations unlimited spending power to promote their special interests to Congress. As a result, oil and coal companies have been spending millions of dollars trying to prevent comprehensive energy and climate legislation from becoming law. In fact, BP, whose reckless disregard for safety caused the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, has found ample money to pay off Republican senators but little money to pay the thousands whose livelihoods BP has temporarily destroyed. By requiring these victims submit mountains of paperwork to prove that they were directly (rather than indirectly) impacted by the oil spill, BP has plenty of cash left over to mount an aggressive PR campaign on TV and lead the charge in stopping what polls show 72 percent of Americans want; real change in our nation’s energy and climate policy. In fact, last week in the U.S. Senate, all 40 Republican senators voted NOT to give full disclosure of their sources of campaign funding, thus killing the bill 57-41. You see, Republicans do not want the American public to know who is paying for their campaigns, because it would contain some of the worst polluters on the planet.

Even if you voted for the two former CEOs of oil companies rather than the environmentalist who warned America of the dangers of global climate change 30 years ago, you should still watch the movie “An Inconvenient Truth.” It can be checked out at the Breckenridge Public Library (or any branch library through inter-library loan) for free. Please don’t be like G.W. Bush who refused to even watch the movie. Remember minds are like parachutes … they only function when open.

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