Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Roy Innis of CORE on Energy Policy

Roy Innis is national chairman of the New York-based Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), one of America’s oldest civil rights organizations. This excerpt comes from his testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives in December 2007. We often hear that “clean, free, inexhaustible” renewable energy can replace the “dirty” fossil fuels that sustain our economy. A healthy dose of energy reality is needed. Fully 85% of America’s total energy comes from fossil fuels. Over half of its electricity comes from coal. Gas and nuclear generate 36% of its electricity.

American consumers simply cannot afford to halt the construction of new coal-fired power plants, though some politicians, activists and even companies are trying to do exactly that. Power plants fueled by coal are far less polluting than 30 years ago. Just since 1998, their annual sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions have declined another 28% and 43% respectively. We need every energy resource: oil, gas, coal, hydroelectric, nuclear – and wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. We cannot replace 52% of our electricity (the coal-based portion) with technologies that currently provide only 1% of that power (mainly wind).

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