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E-M:/ President's State of the Union - Sierra Club Response

Enviro-Mich message from "Daniel Farough" <daniel.farough@sierraclub.org>


The President's State of Union address focused considerable attention on
energy and environmental issues.  Unfortunately the rhetoric does not match
the substance.  Many of his proposals - Energy, Air Pollution, Logging
Public Lands, Arctic Drilling take us in exactly the wrong direction.  Other
proposals - fuel cells - do not move quickly enough, lack teeth and are
likely to cede the growing market of fuel-efficient technology to our
foreign rivals at precisely the moment we need to be moving quickly in order
to break our dependence on foreign oil.

The Sierra Club response to the President's proposals is below.


Fuel cells:

Fuel cells are an important part of a clean energy future, but the
President's rhetoric does not match the reality.  President Bush's
FreedomCAR program is built on the flawed Partnership for A New Generation
of Vehicles (PNGV), which squandered billions of taxpayer dollars in  R&D
and did not bring a single hybrid vehicle to the marketplace.  Similarly,
the FreedomCAR program funnels millions to Detroit without requiring that
they produce a single fuel cell vehicle for the public to purchase.

Indeed, the auto industry is using the promise of future fuel cells as a
shield against using existing technology to dramatically cut our oil
dependence, and pollution, today.  This technology is sitting on the shelf
while American Automakers dither.  Honda and Toyota are producing hybrid
today, the big three are not.  Honda has stated that it is using the
electric motor of its hybrid as the basis for the fuel cell cars which it
is beginning to produce.  Meanwhile, FreedomCAR is re-inventing the wheel.
Refusing to demand that the big three use modern, gas-saving technology is

The biggest single step we can take to curb global warming and cut our
dependence on oil is to make our cars and light trucks go farther on a
gallon of gas.  If the vehicles on the road today averaged 40 mpg, we would
keep over 600 billion tons of carbon dioxide out of our air, and save over
3 million barrels of oil a day- more than we currently import from the
Persian Gulf.

The President seems to be comfortable with the auto industry's
approach--"Don't make us do anything today. Twenty years from now, we may
develop fuel cells.  America can wait."

Air Pollution:
The President mentioned his so-called Clear Skies Initiative.  This proposal
falls way short of Americans'
goal of eliminating air pollution.  It weakens the Clean Air Act and fails
to even address global warming.  Instead of reducing air pollution, the
President's plan will actually result in more air pollution than currently
allowed under current law.

At the same time, the Administration is considering weakening New Source
Review; an important Clean Air Act program that requires antiquated power
plants and factories to install modern pollution control equipment when they
For more info. on Sierra Club's position, please see

Logging public lands:
Under the guise of forest fire protection, the Bush Administration
presented a plan to increase logging in National Forests.  The problem is
that the plan won't protect the communities or forests from dangerous fires
and will cost taxpayers in the form of subsidies to the timber industry.
The Sierra Club has a plan that will save lives and protect communities.
Read it at: http://www.sierraclub.org/logging/fire_protection2.asp

Following a series of secret meeting with energy industries, the Bush
Administration is pushing a plan to increase use of fossil fuels instead of
investing in the quicker, cleaner, cheaper solutions to our energy
problems.  By increasing the fuel economy of cars, SUVs, and trucks - and
by increasing our reliance on renewable energy sources like wind and solar
power - we can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, curb global warming,
and save money at the same time.  Energy savings start at

Arctic Drilling:
The Bush Administration continues the old call to drill in the Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge.  This despite the fact that it would take more
than a decade to obtain a drop of oil, and then would produce less than a
six-month supply, and the drilling would destroy one of the last truly
pristine American landscapes left.  For more on this treasure:

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