Earth Day 2017 – Mr. President, Go Green

Veteran Co-Owned Solar Company Based in San Diego, CA - Photo Semper Solaris
Veteran Co-Owned Solar Company Based in San Diego, CA – Photo Semper Solaris

For Earth Day this year, coming up on April 22, 2017, write a letter to President Trump letting him know a concern of yours, environmental or otherwise.

Prior to the first Earth Day in 1970, smog was so thick in some cities you could not see across the street, water pollution was so bad that rivers caught on fire, and pesticides were poisoning not only pests but people and wildlife, too. Richard Nixon was the President of the United States.

On April 22, 1970, millions of Americans took to the streets demanding that the Federal Government take action to protect the environment and public health. The modern environmental movement gained traction and people from all walks of life supported environmental legislation. During the 1970’s, the Environmental Protection Agency was founded and Congress passed important environmental laws including the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act.

Since 1970, Earth Day as spread around the world encouraging people everywhere to take action to protect Mother Earth, the place we all call home.

A few years ago, I began a tradition of writing to the President of the United States for Earth Day (I write on other days, too). This year, I wrote the letter below to President Trump about renewable energy.

April 17, 2017

President Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Re: National Security and Renewable Energy

Dear President Trump,

While reading your 2018 budget proposal America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again, a sentence in your message to Congress on page 7 resonated with me.

“A budget that puts America first must make the safety of our people its number one priority—because without safety, there can be no prosperity.”

Safety from terrorist attacks is just one way to help Americans feel safe. We also need clean air to breathe, safe water drink, healthy food to eat, a roof over our heads, and a habitable planet to live on.

As an American citizen, I respectfully urge you to support ramping up renewable energy to promote safety and prosperity for all Americans.

The Pentagon has stated that climate change is a major threat to national security and the DOD has embraced renewable energy to improve systems efficiency, troop safety, and mission effectiveness.

Expanding renewable energy to power American homes, businesses and transportation would enhance our national security and provide jobs. The U.S. Energy and Employment Report and the Annual Energy Outlook 2017 with projections to 2050 provide compelling information about how renewable energy and energy efficiency is already contributing to your make America great again strategy.

Solar – 374,000 Americans are working full or part time in the solar industry, a workforce increase of 25% in 2016. American veterans hold 9% of the 260,077 full-time solar jobs.

Wind – 102,000 Americans are working in the wind industry, a workforce increase of 32% in 2016.

Energy Efficiency – 2.2 million Americans are working on energy efficient products and services related to the EPA’s ENERGY STAR program (which you propose eliminating). Of those jobs, 290,000 are manufacturing jobs.

Mr. President, you have considerable business experience and acumen, which is why many Americans voted for you, so I urge you to put that knowledge to work in supporting renewable energy.

My spouse and I are trying to do our part. When we installed solar panels on our roof, we specifically chose a manufacturer producing panels in the U.S. and paid 9% extra to support American workers.

Let us work together to keep Earth habitable for our children, grandchildren, and generations to come.

Sincerely,

Linda Poppenheimer

The Unlikely Environmentalist at greengroundswell.com

For Earth Day 2017, please write a letter to President Trump and join millions of Americans and me for the March for Science on April 22. If you can’t make it on the 22nd, then consider participating in the People’s Climate Movement March on April 29.

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Earth Day 2014 – Mr. President, Go Green

For Earth Day this year, I decided to write to President Obama about the Keystone XL Pipeline Project. My timing couldn’t have been better.

350.org Parades Giant Pipeline Around the Capitol Before State of Union Photo: Steven Tuttle

Last Friday, I took a break from drafting my letter to the President to check online for the latest Keystone XL Pipeline news. The U.S. Department of State had just issued a press release stating the Keystone XL Pipeline Project review period was being extended due to a decision by the Nebraska Supreme Court that may result in a route change through Nebraska.

Reading the press release about the Department of State’s Keystone XL Pipeline Project website (I didn’t even know there was one) enticed me to read the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone XL Project Executive Summary dated January 2014.

I discovered how little I actually knew about the Keystone XL Pipeline Project which I’ve opposed for the last couple of years. One document led to the next and so on until I realized I needed to finish my letter and save the Keystone XL Pipeline Project for another post. I did use some of my new found knowledge in my letter to the President. The text is pasted below.

April 22, 2014

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Re: Keystone XL Pipeline Project

Dear President Obama,

On this 44th Earth Day, I want to thank you for your efforts to move the United States towards clean renewable energy and a brighter future for children everywhere.

But it’s not enough. We all need to do more—a lot more.

I was pleased to see last Friday’s Department of State announcement extending the Keystone XL Pipeline Project review period again, but the project should just be stopped once and for all.

Destroying Alberta’s boreal forest and transporting 830,000 barrels of tar sands crude oil across the heartland of the United States every day might be in the short-term interest of the petroleum industry, but it is not in the national interest of American or Canadian citizens.

The Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone XL Pipeline Project shows it will cause large scale environmental degradation and is fraught with risks to people and wildlife. It is not a job creator and is not economically sound.

-Once the Keystone XL Pipeline is built, just operating it will emit 1.44 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents a year, the same as putting another 300,000 cars on the road.

-Producing, refining, and burning a barrel of tar sands crude oil from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin emits 17% more greenhouse gases than the average barrel of crude oil refined in the U.S.

-The 42,100 jobs the project expects to support temporarily during construction are not necessarily new jobs. Some or all of the people may already be employed by the companies that would perform the work and it is not unreasonable to suppose that some or all would find other projects to work on if the Keystone XL Pipeline Project does not happen.

-The project will only create 50 post-construction long-term U.S. jobs (35 permanent, 15 temporary).

-The projected $3.4 billion the project would contribute to the U.S. economy is more than offset by spending on mitigating and dealing with climate change which in part is caused by burning fossil fuels. For example, according to The President’s Budget Fiscal Year 2015, $4.4 billion in taxpayer money is earmarked for just for the “Reducing Carbon Pollution and Preparing for the Impacts of Climate Change” section. That puts us in the hole by $1 billion, just for one year.

For whatever reason, the media, environmental NGOs, and the general public have latched onto the Keystone XL Pipeline Project and made it a prominent issue as well as a political hot potato. This provides you with an ideal opportunity to take a stand and kill the project. Such an action is sure to garner worldwide attention and put global leaders on notice that you intend to lead the fight against climate change.

Mr. President what you do or do not do to address climate change during your presidency will become your legacy. That is what will be remembered by your children and mine. I promise to do my part.

Sincerely,

Linda, the Unlikely Environmentalist at www.greengroundswell.com

I’ll post the response if I get one.

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