The following is a statement by Earthjustice Vice President of Policy and Legislation, Martin Hayden:
“On the day Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth was nominated for an Academy Award, President Bush brought himself to mention global warming in the State of the Union address, but failed to provide the leadership needed to solve the greatest environmental and public health challenge in our nation’s history. While the president’s goal of reducing gasoline consumption by 20% over the next decade is laudable, realizing that goal in a way that helps reduce global warming pollution must require that the fuels promoted are cleaner than the gasoline they replace. Most importantly, we need leadership on establishing an aggressive declining cap on U.S. global warming pollution that results in a mandatory reduction of 15% to 20% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. By mid-century, that cap must result in a decrease of U.S. emissions on the order of 80%.
“On its face, the president’s alternative fuel initiative is a policy that lacks a mechanism for delivery. The associated infrastructure investment necessary to get these fuels to consumers would be massive. If the president’s policies continue our dependence on coal, such as promoting coal to liquid technologies, it would be a disaster for both climate change and the environment. Mountaintop removal coal mining blows apart entire mountain ranges, buries vital streams and rivers, poisons drinking water supplies and threatens flooding in many communities. Coal is a fossil fuel. Failing to reduce our coal consumption leads us further away from a clean environment and exacerbates the problems of global warming.
“While we appreciate the president’s interest in increasing fuel efficiency of our automobiles, the specifics of the proposal contained enough loopholes to drive a fleet of gas-guzzling Hummers through. Combining no fleet goal, a size-class standard, and a credit trading scheme creates a formula that could result in minimal reductions of greenhouse gases from automobiles. Available technologies already exist to get us to an automobile fleet standard of 40 miles-per-gallon.
“We are absolutely dumbfounded to see that the administration, as part of the details of the president’s proposal, once again called for Congress to authorize oil development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. One has to wonder how many times are they going to beat their heads against that brick wall?
“We are heartened by the early interest of the 110th Congress in addressing global warming and look to them to ensure that any of the policies the President or they propose move America forward towards significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions and a cleaner future for our children and grandchildren.”