“Vice President Dick Cheney is a dinosaur living in the age of mammals,” says one of the candidates for U.S. president last fall.
WASHINGTON, DC, US, 2001-05-04 <SolarAccess.com> Ralph Nader was responding to Cheney’s comments to media in Toronto, at which he said that “conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy” and then called for safeguards to the environment by making greater use of nuclear power. Nader, who ran for the Green Party and is an environmentalist, also criticized Cheney for his support of oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, and called on the American people to “wean themselves from the economically and environmentally costly energy policies that keep taxpayers, consumers and environmentalists hooked on oil coal and nuclear power.” “Federal policy over the past century has largely failed to promote an energy system based on safe, secure, economically affordable, and environmentally benign energy sources,” he says. The tax code, budget appropriations and regulatory processes have been used to subsidize dependence on fossil fuels and nuclear power, with the result of “increased sickness and premature deaths, depleted family budgets, acid rain destruction of lakes, forests, and crops, oil spill contamination, polluted rivers and loss of aquatic species and the long-term peril of climate change and radioactive waste dumps.” “There is an alternative,” he concludes. “Three decades of detailed assessments, on-the-ground results, and research and development innovations in the energy-consuming devices used in our buildings, vehicles and industries undeniably show that energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies are superior energy options for society. They offer a present and future path that is economically attractive, safe and secure from large-scale or long-term risks or threats to public health, future generations, and the environment.” “But embarking on that path requires overcoming the power of the oil, nuclear and other conventional fuel industries to which both the Republicans and Democrats are indentured,” he concludes. “President Bush could establish the United States as the model for other countries by adopting a sustainable energy policy that includes … a robust federal research and development program in sustainable renewable energy sources, so that the energy-independence promises of wind, solar and other forms of renewable energy are finally realized.” His proposal includes an increase in automobile fuel efficiency standards, stronger efficiency standards for appliances and mandatory energy performance building codes. electricity policies that promote efficient use of electricity through net metering and other requirements, and an employee transition assistance fund and job-retraining program for displaced coal miners. “Our country has more problems than it deserves and more solutions than it uses,” he says. “It is time for the United States to stop letting Exxon-Mobil, Peabody Coal and Westinghouse shape our energy policy and for our misguided elected officials to adopt an energy strategy based on clean renewable energy and conservation.”