How soon we forget who the “boogie man” is. In the 1970s it was the little ice age followed by mad cow disease. Then DDT became the bad guy on the planet.
Now it’s swine flu, carbon dioxide (global warming), cap and trade (tax) and nuclear power. There’s always been something out there to scare us.
Each generation has its own “Chicken Littles” to tell us the sky is falling. What’s really scary is they don’t seem to learn from one generation to the next. During the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said it best during his first Inaugural Address: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
As Chairman of the House Science & Technology Committee and member of the Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee, I have been appointed by the Speaker of the House to committees of two national organizations: The Natural Resources Committee of the American Legislative Exchange Council and the Agriculture and Energy Committee of the National Council of State Legislatures .
ALEC met in Atlanta July 14-17, and the meetings I attended focused on the economy and the issues of health care, global warming, cap and trade and school choice. Most of the attendees were moderate to conservative, and the discussions reflected a fear of what the current administration’s policies will do to the economy. They were especially concerned with the huge new federal debt being created and what amounts to increased taxes on power companies.
With respect to global warming, one of the presenters provided NASA satellite data showing that arctic ice grew in 2008 and is growing more in 2009. This was followed by a documentary: “Not Evil Just Wrong,” which examines the devastating economic consequences of the global warming hysteria. The film also highlights the tragic consequences of the ban on DDT, which resulted in millions of African children dying of malaria.
Five years ago South Africa reintroduced DDT and cut malaria deaths by 90 percent. In 2006 the World Health Organization overturned the ban as having no scientific basis. Some American environmentalists still refuse to accept the WHO ruling.
Have the global warming advocates forgotten about CO2? It is the most important nutrient in the world. Where would our forests and jungles be without it?
The National Council of State Legislatures met in Philadelphia July 20-25 and its attendees were the reverse of those who attended the ALEC meeting. Most of the NCSL attendees were moderate to liberal with conservatives making up less than 20 percent. We spent an all-day session in an energy policy summit on energy efficiency.
What is the difference between energy efficiency and conservation? Energy efficiency gives the same or more energy output with less input. Think of the new low energy light bulbs and high efficiency appliances for saving on the electric bill. Conservation is putting less in and getting less out. Here one saves by turning out lights, watering less and taking short showers. Try both and save a lot. If enough people practice efficiency and conservation, we can build fewer power generating facilities.
One of the most eye-opening sessions pointed out that our nation’s 81 million buildings consume more energy than any other sector of the U.S. economy, including transportation and industry. We learned about the importance of building codes and standards, and “green buildings” that efficiently use energy resources. We heard from a Kansas school superintendent who led the fight to rebuild a “green” town after it had been destroyed by a tornado.
We spent another entire day at the Salem and Hope Creek Nuclear Power Plant in Salem County, N.J. (35 miles southwest of Philadelphia). It was a unique opportunity to see the second largest nuclear reactor site in the U.S. operating two types of reactor technology (boiling water reactor and pressurized water reactor). We also observed the handling and management of used nuclear fuel and participated in a site security exercise.
Earlier in July, the House Republican Caucus met to discuss the 2009 Legislative Session and the governor’s proposed changes to the FY 2010 spending plan.
Generally speaking, the 2009 Session was highlighted by what we didn’t do rather than what we did do. Primarily, we did not raise taxes.
The FY 2010 Budget cuts being made by the Governor generated much more discussion. The $1 billion in cuts that the state is forced to make are required by the state constitution.
We have to operate in the black. No red ink is allowed here, unlike California, which has been issuing IOUs. Just like most counties in Georgia, the state will be trying to operate an FY 2010 Budget with the same amount of money we had four years ago.
Rep. Amos Amerson can be reached at 689 N. Chestatee Street, Dahlonega, GA 30533; (706) 864-6589; e-mail email@example.com.