Pennacchio Issue of the Day – 6 & 7

As part of AF&O’s effort to promote the US Senate campaign of a true Pennsylvania progressive, every weekday until the Keystone State’s May 16 Democratic primary election, we present candidate Dr. Chuck Pennacchio on one of the many issues facing Pennsylvania and the nation. Today, we look at two topics: Pennacchio on Energy Dependence and the Environment.

From Pennacchio for Senate:

On Energy Dependence:

To protect our environment, our economy, and our national security, we have to change our priorities. We are a petroleum dependent society facing a rapid reduction in petroleum availability. The result will be fuel scarcity and escalating prices, not just for travel, but for goods and services. Petroleum dependence has the potential to destabilize our economy. We can’t continue to depend on cars to get us everywhere.

A critical piece of the solution to our problems is public transportation, and in particular, rebuilding our derelict rail and light rail systems. It currently takes 7½ hours to travel by train between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. A modern bullet train could make the journey in about two. Absence of rail transport forces us to use cars, which burn far too much fuel, or fly, with flights becoming costlier and less frequent every day. Trains are cleaner and more fuel efficient than auto-mobiles and airplanes. They emit fewer volatile organic compounds and carbon dioxide than cars and planes, and fewer nitrous oxides than cars. Per ton-mile, studies show that a freight train uses between one-third and one-ninth as much fuel as trucks. Trains can move a ton of freight (or passengers) 410 miles on a gallon of diesel. While trucks will always be needed for local delivery, for transport across long distances, we must start moving to rail.

In addition to its other benefits, rebuilding our rail system will provide work for years to come, help to revive Pennsylvania’s steel industry, alleviate city and highway traffic congestion, reduce accidents, and increase the speed of freight delivery. And if we reduce the need to import fuel from other countries, we can increase our national security by disengaging ourselves from regimes with poor human rights practices that give rise to terrorism.

Finally, we must develop renewable fuel sources, such as wind, bio-diesel, solar, and hydro-electric. Conserving energy will alleviate the pressure to destroy our environment for short-term gain, for example the push to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. Exploitation of ANWR for oil is wrongheaded and shortsighted. The oil it would provide, as a percentage of our needs, is negligible, while the damage it would cause to one of the world’s great untouched wildernesses is substantial and permanent. The tradeoff does not make sense, and the benefits are not worth the costs.

Read more about it here.

On the Environment:

Protecting and maintaining our environment must be a priority; a clean and unpolluted America is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. Environmental protection is an American value, a value that not only makes our nation cleaner and healthier, but also creates new jobs and economic opportunity. There are many who attempt to paint environmental concern and conservation as anti-business; this is fundamentally false. Chuck knows that as we develop cleaner, “greener” industries and energy sources, a world of new economic opportunities will follow. Chuck will work to promote environmentally friendly industries and energy sources.

The Bush Administration and Rick Santorum (R-PA) often stand against positive environmental policy; Orwellian proposals like “Healthy Forests” and “Clean Skies” have allowed clear cutting and increased air pollution in exchange for economic benefit for their elitist donors in the timber, fossil fuels and manufacturing industries. Chuck believes that environmental protection should come before the bottom-line of Senator Santorum’s campaign donors.

The push to exploit the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) for oil is wrongheaded and shortsighted. The oil it would provide, as a percentage of our needs, is negligible, while the damage it would cause to one of the world’s great untouched wildernesses is substantial and permanent. The tradeoff does not make sense, and the benefits are not worth the costs.

Read more about it here.

And read my interview with Chuck to hear his views on these and other issues.

The Pennsylvania primary is May 16. Between now and then, do all you can to support a true, people-focused progressive for the US Senate. And don’t miss the Pennacchio Issue of the Day tomorrow.

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