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21 April 2006 @ 06:30 pm
Write a letter to your elected officials  
Environmental Action offers a convenient letter-writing tool if you feel like giving your senators and representatives a piece of your mind concerning federal spending cuts in research and development of renewable energy sources. Here's what I sent:

Dear Senator:

If we’re serious about ending our addiction to oil, it’s completely wrong-headed to cut funding, as the president has done in his new budget, for energy conservation and renewable energy.

At present, the U.S. devotes approximately $2 billion per year to programs aimed at reducing our reliance on oil. We could make much better progress in breaking our addiction to oil by increasing this spending five-fold, to $10 billion per year. We could accomplish this by redirecting $8 million from Pentagon spending to research and development of renewable energy sources. As we both realize, $8 billion represents about 1.4% of the current yearly military and defense spending, if we add the $120 billion per year spent in Iraq and Afghanistan to the $442 billion annual Pentagon budget. Given the peril in which the current administration has placed the U.S. in its reckless quest to effect regime change in Iraq and very soon, Iran, we can afford to do nothing less.  

I urge you to support an immediate, five-fold increase in funding research and development of renewable energy sources. This would be a critical first step toward modifying our country's foreign policy, the oil addiction on which it is based, and most critically, the tremendous violence and suffering that both of these factors have incurred.

Sincerely,


My proposal overshoots what EA suggests we request in our letters, a mere doubling of the current federal expenditure for R & D in renewable energy. Maybe I'm naive, but it seems to me that taking $8 billion from the enormous Pentagon budget shouldn't be too very difficult if Bush is serious about reducing our dependence on foreign oil.  After all, according to Ben Cohen, $10 billion is only equal to a single Oreo cookie. I think we can handle that.

I just did a little quick googling and have discovered that my True Majority pen figures may even be dated. (Rats!) In an article published in the fall of 2005, researchers at UC Berkely claim that U.S. spending for R & D in renewable energy was $3 million. Their recommendations for increases in funding are much bolder than mine, though. They think spending should be increased by a factor of 10 to $30 billion.  NOW we're talking!  Have a look.