It’s not about the money

I know, when someone says that, it usually is about the money. I can’t help but think there have been times when, as a country, we’ve made some really terrific decisions that weren’t driven by the almighty dollar. Places like Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon and many other protected conservation areas were set aside by previous generations for the enjoyment of future generations including our own. But in most cases there were competing ideas about what to do with these landscapes. There were proposals to dam the Grand Canyon for hydropower and to tap Yellowstone for geothermal energy and of course we all know about efforts to drill the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil. In each case we – and I include the politicians in this – exercised restraint and thought about the long-term.

As the Senate gets ready to debate the Climate Security Act there will of course be lots of talk about the money. You’ll hear the bill will cost too much. That reducing our emissions will hurt manufacturing jobs and lead to higher electricity costs for consumers. Some of these arguments will be made by lobbyists working for companies like Exxon, which just claimed $10.9 billion in quarterly profits. Other claims will be made for Senator Jim Inhofe who collected $216,200 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry and $135,600 from electric utilities over the past six years.

What I really hope gets discussed on the floor of the Senate is what our commitment is to our children. Mine are two and four years old respectively and under a competing proposal to be offered by Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) they’d graduate from college by the time the time we do anything to reduce emissions. Our kids deserve better of course and the Climate Security Act promises to bequeath to them among the greatest gifts given by one generation to another: freedom from our addiction to oil, an economic rebirth built on clean renewable technologies and abundant fish and wildlife all across the country.

– Adam Kolton, Director Congressional and Federal Affairs for NWF (and more importantly, Dad)

Published: May 7, 2008