For those of you who missed it, there was a public hearing last night with the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection concerning the Ely Energy Center (Limited Liability Corporation). For those of you who didn't stay till 9:30 to hear my presentation, this is the rest of what I told them:
"I would like to start by pointing out new data that carbon dioxide is a pollutant.
Professor Mark Jacobson, from Stanford University, has recently linked increased respiratory illness, asthma, and mortality to higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. As many as 1,000 people a year in the United States are dying from carbon dioxide pollution – and many more are sick. We can add a portion of those deaths to the EPA data that states that 24,000 Americans die prematurely from the effects of coal-fired air pollution.
It doesn't have to be this way.
Sweden has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 12.7 percent, even though the Kyoto Protocol allowed them a 4 percent increase. During this period of time, Sweden has shown strong economic growth.
The United States, on the other hand, has been whining that it can't be done. What has happened to us? America used to lead the world. Now we can't seem to support the clean technologies that Americans invented. Have our politicians become that corrupt?
Scientists from all over the world are telling us that carbon dioxide levels are at the highest they've been in 650,000 years. And they're rising at a phenomenal rate. Recent data show that the ability of forests to soak up man-made carbon dioxide is weakening. In fact, in many ways, natural carbon sequestration is failing. Vast amounts of carbon dioxide are being added to our man-made pollutants by melting permafrost, invasive species destruction, droughts, and mega-fires.
The oceans have soaked up a lot of our carbon dioxide, but in the process, have formed carbonic acid. This acid, which just keeps getting stronger with more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, is eating away at the calcium in sea shells, crab shells, and coral. The world's coral reefs are dying, and some scientists estimate that by 2050, as much as half of all sea life could die.
The Supreme Court has ordered the United States Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. However, the EPA has still published no regulations. None. Worse, they have denied the States' rights to set their own standards. Who does this protect? Surely not the people. Surely not the environment.
The irony of all this is how something of such grave importance can be reduced to a non-issue. We're supposed to ignore data that show the Arctic Sea will likely be melted during the summer by 2012 – because the EPA won't publish regulations? It is quite possible that we are witnessing the beginning of the collapse of the resources absolutely necessary to support our civilization. Yet U.S. government officials are ignoring one of the biggest threats to our future survival. What kind of impotent bureaucracy have we allowed to take over?
I've decided to talk tonight about the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection hearing and review process.
I could have talked about the tons and tons and tons of toxic – and extremely toxic chemicals this coal-fired power plant will be emitting. But I'm sure you've already studied these seventy different pollutants that will poison our homeland.
I could have talked about how carbon sequestration won't work in limestone. But you probably already know that.
I could have talked about global warming – and some of the tipping points which we have already reached. But again, you probably already know about how humanity is poised to graduate from causing the extinctions of species to causing the extinctions of whole ecosystems.
No. I wanted to talk tonight about this contrived legal world of bureaucratic rules and regulations – which apparently seem to be designed more to protect the polluters than the public and our environment.
It amazes me that here, in America, we would even be considering these polluting monstrosities when the technology exists to generate power in such a way that there wouldn't even be a need for an air quality hearing. Is the industry just that short sighted, or are they really that greedy and corrupt? Have we all just become clerks; stamping our paperwork and passing it on? Or are we learning as we go? If so, will we learn in time to fix things before they self-destruct?
Right now, you probably feel a lot of pressure from very powerful people. Just remember, you have powerful potential friends on both sides of the fence. You have more freedom than you might think. But you always have the freedom to determine your future with integrity.
You have a unique opportunity – to make a significant difference in the future of Nevada, humanity, and life on Earth.
You know what needs to be done. You need to redirect our efforts towards a more healthy and safe power generation industry... No one will go without power. The power companies will still make money. And you will be able to say that you made a difference."