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Clean Up the Clean Energy Bill

2010 Action of Immediate Witness

BECAUSE Unitarian Universalist Principles affirm the interdependent web of existence, as well as the democratic process; and

WHEREAS the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico illustrates the tragic cost of fossil fuel energy, the recklessness of corporations that allow the public to bear their risk, and the moral imperative to conserve energy; and

WHEREAS greenhouse gas emissions threaten to bring about catastrophic climate change—current levels exceed the safe upper limit for atmospheric carbon dioxide and business as usual would take them even higher; and

WHEREAS nuclear energy is plagued by unsolved problems of radioactive waste disposal, the risk of terrorism, and weapons proliferation, and requires highly capital-intensive investment that diverts funds from safe, renewable sources; and

WHEREAS renewable energy and conservation can expand only when dirty and dangerous sources of energy are made to pay for the cost they impose on society; and

WHEREAS President Barack Obama, responding to the BP oil disaster, said: “The time has come, once and for all, for this nation to fully embrace a clean energy future”; and

WHEREAS in 2009, the House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act, and the Senate is currently considering the American Power Act, as well as the Carbon Limits and Energy for America’s Renewal Act; and

WHEREAS the American Power Act provides loan guarantees for nuclear power, subsidies for so-called “clean coal,” and expanded offshore oil drilling; and

WHEREAS the oil, coal, and nuclear industries spend millions of dollars each year on lobbying and public relations, thereby distorting scientific fact and the democratic process; and

WHEREAS current energy legislation will shape United States energy and climate policy for the next generation, with even longer-term consequences for Earth’s natural systems and human welfare;

THEREFORE the 2010 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association urges member congregations to ask the Senate immediately to act on the energy legislation it is considering, which must be amended to make dirty and dangerous energy pay its full societal cost and truly favor clean energy and conservation. Legislation must:

  • cap greenhouse gas emissions (methane as well as CO2) in all economic activities, at a level recommended by scientists in order to prevent catastrophic climate change;
  • remove all liability limitations (including the Price-Anderson Act for nuclear power) for any energy source, allowing risk to affect the price of energy and safe energy to become cost-competitive;
  • impose stringent control and meaningful inspection of offshore oil drilling; halt mountaintop removal coal mining; eliminate the exemption of hydraulic fracturing of shale from Environmental Protection Agency regulation;
  • direct loan guarantees and subsidies exclusively to safe, renewable sources (solar, wind, geothermal, tide) and conservation; and
  • include a national Renewable Energy Standard, requiring utilities to generate 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

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