The recovery of our country is of vital concern to everyone, but we should not sacrifice our environment. The House Republican conference has proposed several job bills to fix the economy; however, at the heart of their jobs bills is a push for rolling back regulations and gutting environmental laws. According to the House Republican Conference website, deregulation will “remove onerous federal regulations that are redundant, harmful to small businesses, and impede private sector investment and job creation.”
Mitt Romney recently said the EPA should not “take action which can prevent us from taking advantage of the extraordinary energy resources we have, such as coal, oil, natural gas.”
The Keystone pipeline received strong support as a vital process in our recovery. President Obama has recently given the ok for the construction of a 485 mile section of the Keystone pipeline to be built from Cushing, Oklahoma to Texan, a crucial link in the pipeline. According to TransCanada, over 4,000 jobs could be created. Many U.S. refiners have already signed 17 year contract to ship over thousands of barrels of oil a day.
The tar sands that will flow through the Keystone pipeline are a heavy, corrosive oil. It was tar sands that spilled into the Kalamazoo River system in 2010, releasing over 20,000 barrels of oil. Many environmental groups have strongly opposed the Keystone pipeline.
Mitt Romney has pledged to approve the pipeline on his first day in office. President Obama’s administration has been cautious regarding the pipeline, and demanded a reroute to avoid a vital aquifer that supplies water for most of the Midwestern states. However, many would like to see a total ban on the pipeline.
We should not have to sacrifice a clean environment for our economic recovery. First Solar, formerly based out of Perrysburg, has had to lay off 2,000 workers and is closing a plant in Germany. They blame decreasing demand for solar panels and increased competition from China. Clean energy, a relatively new form of energy in the United States, is not getting the federal help the fossil fuels continue to enjoy. Of the $7.7 billion that went for energy-related research and development in 2010, fossil fuels received $4 billion.
There are many benefits from renewable energy sources and projects. But without the help of federal government, they may always be second-rate energy projects while fossil fuels continue to harm our environment and pollute our world.