Thursday, May 14, 2009

Day 25

Day 25, and there are eight of us still fasting. One person, Diane Lopez Hughes, will be ending her fast today but seven of us will keep going. Several of us intend to go until the House Energy and Commerce Committee finishes its work and, most likely, reports out a very problematic American Clean Energy and Security Act at the end of next week. One of us, SKCM Curry, is planning to fast for a full 40 days.

I've started to call this fast a hunger strike. I did that kind-of without thinking, but thinking about it now, I'm realizing I've done so because of what is now coming out publicly about what Energy and Commerce is getting ready to do--report out a bill that will have very little impact for many years to come on the climate crisis. Instead of being auctioned, over half of the permits to burn fossil fuels are going to be given to coal, oil and heavy industry, with coal utilities the big winners. The bill has been seriously weakened from the initial discussion draft a month and a half ago so that the requirements for renewable energy and energy efficiency have been cut just about in half, and they were in need of strengthening, not weakening. Power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions by the EPA will be constrained. States will be preempted when it comes to their passage of legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Who do we have to "thank" for this travesty? Primarily Democrats from areas where coal and oil interests are powerful. People like Rick Boucher from southwest Virginia and Mike Doyle from western Pennsylvania.

So it's not a happy 25th day. But I am glad that during these weeks when our future was being further compromised and threatened by Big Oil and King Coal, some of us did the right thing and tried to blow the whistle on what was happening.

I only hope that the young people and others who feel the same outrage that I do will now translate that into the kind of nonviolent direct action movement that we saw rise up out of the deep South in the 1960's that transformed this country. Nothing else has a chance of turning things around in enough time to prevent climate catastrophe.

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