Letters, Jan. 30
A winning strategy
Thank you, Ashland Tidings, for your frequent coverage of climate change and related concerns. I was pleased to read in the Jan. 17 issue that 45 top economists from across the political spectrum believe “A carbon tax offers the most cost effective lever to reduce emissions at the scale and rate that is necessary.”
This is just what we need — an effective pathway for the U.S. to address global warming, delivered by respected professionals whose party affiliation is a non-issue.
In the halls of Congress we see the absence of partisanship as well with the recent introduction of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (energyinnovationact.org). Republicans and Democrats have come together as co-sponsors of both the Senate and House versions. It’s worth celebrating, as this is the first bipartisan climate legislation in 10 years. It also lines up with the approach proposed by the economists — to collect a fee from fossil fuel companies based on the green house gas emissions of their products and return the revenues to households. When enacted, this will drive down green house gases (40% in 12 years), while unleashing American technological innovation. The greenhouse gas reduction will surpass the goals of both the Clean Power Plan and the Paris Agreement.
Vitally important is the public support and economic boost that will be generated by the receipt of a monthly dividend check. Citizens’ Climate Lobby (citizensclimatelobby.org), a nonpartisan, volunteer-driven, nonprofit organization with over 500 chapters, has endorsed the bill, claiming, “It’s bipartisan, effective, good for people, good for the economy and does not grow government.”
Rep. Greg Walden, in his town hall address in Medford last Friday, spoke proudly of his bipartisan work in Congress. I hope that he and Sens, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley will agree with the economists’ recommended approach and support the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act when it is reintroduced in both houses in the 116th Congress. If you are a constituent, please ask them to.
If we are to find our way out of global warming and endless devastating climate disruptions, it is imperative that we leave partisanship behind. Only legislation with significant bipartisan support will survive intact through future changes in Congress and presidents. Success will be found in a plan that does not have a red or blue stamp, helping all people and the business sector to collectively take action to wean off fossil fuels and create a livable world. Time is of the essence.
America’s real crises
There are several gigantic issues that our government must address because they are the real crises in America.
Funding a border wall is pennies of what we totally spend in the federal budget (wall request about 0.1 percent of total U.S. budget). Fund it, then go back in two to three years and evaluate its effectiveness. Simple.
The real crises are: costs of higher education, modernizing our infrastructure (bridges, rail service, airports, highways, etc.), health care for all, and the federal deficit. Let’s consider reduced tuition in return for four years of “service” from college graduates in the fields that address our real crises; we need engineers, health care personnel, laborers and smart-minded financial business people; put these students to work in return for reduced tuition, deduct 10 percent of their salary for four years to partially repay their education; let’s keep the best of them for permanent careers. Finally, let’s make their repayments tax deductible, thus involving all Americans (through our taxes) in supporting this concept. Where are the practical-minded political leaders with original ideas to address the real crises in America?
In search of a problem
Since moving to Ashland in 1991, I have walked along our irrigation canal trails nearly every morning, and I must say my morning walk is among the most peaceful and enjoyable parts of my day. I encounter neighbors running, walking dogs, enjoying the fresh morning air accompanied by birdsong and the sound of the water rushing by, appreciating changing seasons and, soon, spring wildflowers coming into bloom.
Why in the world would a city pay $3.1 million to destroy that? With over 85 miles of open-air irrigation ditch flowing through the TID system, how could the underground piping of a 2-mile stretch through Ashland meaningfully address issues to do with seepage, evaporation, or pollution? And if these are issues crucially impacting the health of the overall system, why not first begin by piping the rest of the system, the parts less frequented by hikers and walkers? There is a striking ecology along the TID. Why ruin that?his idea of underground piping of our irrigation canal looks to me like a multimillion-dollar boondoggle of a solution in desperate search of a problem. I bet we can all think of scores of better uses for $3.1 million of our taxpayer dollars.