This is the fifth (and last) part of the presentation of Energize America at YearlyKos. Earlier instalments are:

YK - Energize America presentation (part 1 - the energy situation)
YK - Energize America presentation (part 2 - how Kossacks built EA)
YK - Energize America presentation (part 3 - main goals)
YK - Energize America presentation (part 4 - principles and exemplary Acts)

This last part, which was written and presented by Mark Sumner (devilstower) talks about the future, and about how YOU can make a difference in helping Energize America go forward. In fact, we absolutely need you.

 Again, both the plan and the full presentation can be downloaded in pdf format from www.ea2020.org.

From a start as a few posts and diaries, to a plan that's been being presented at YearlyKos and offered to candidates across the nation, it seems as if Energize America has come a long way in a short time.  Now that we've come this far -- now that  Energize America has made it to Las Vegas --- the biggest remaining problem isn't deciding what kind of fuel to put in our cars, or how to power our electric grid.  It's not ethanol, or solar, or wind, or hydrogen.  No, the real problem we face is making Energize America more than a plan.

Frankly, everyone has an energy plan.  Every Democratic organization has one.  Every Republican group has one too.  You can count on that. Every individual senator, governor, and congressman seems to have one. Energy plans are a dime a dozen.

If Energize America is to mean anything, it has to be more than a plan, it has to gain the support of those people who can make it a reality.  That includes people in Washington, but it also includes the people in this room.  We have to show them, and show ourselves, that the blogs are worth more than just a source of ready cash for their campaign coffers.

We have to show them that we can be a place to generate, not just funds, but ideas, and even policy.

The greatest thing about Energize America is that it didn't originate with a few people trying to push their own agenda.  It didn't come from someone's staff.  It wasn't cooked up by "industry experts." It's not an agenda masquerading as a plan.

This is a plan that was developed in the open, using feedback and active participation from literally thousands of people.  It's been out there, version by version, warts and all.  Right out in public.

It's not owned by the four people up here on stage, or by YearlyKos, or even by DailyKos.  This is a common effort by common people, working for the common good.  Energize America is a public enterprise, in the best sense of those words.  That's our greatest strength.

But that strength is also our weakness.  Because we're a plan for everyone, we're not the plan for any lobbying group in particular. There are no entrenched interests lining up to fund us.  No one is putting together any Astroturf.  If we're going to have grassroots, they have to be the real thing.

Energize America has to be sold to the public, and sold by the public, if it's to survive.  We have to prove that public policy can be made with the full involvement of the public, and that something as important as the nation's plan for energy, can't be solved in any backroom - no matter how informed or well-meaning the people in that room may be.

Because this is a public, open enterprise, and because it's been open at every step, we're not going to pretend to expertise that we don't have, and we're not going to try and hide the weak spots.  Energize America is not perfect.

There are errors in the plan.  Help us find them.

There are numbers in the plan that are wrong.  Help us refine them.

There are things that should be in the plan, but aren't there now.
Help us put them there.

If you think we're way off base - you may be right.  Tell us.  Prove it.  Give us your insight.  I guarantee you, your comments will be heard.

The only thing you can't do is stay silent.  Solving this problem is the effort of our lifetimes.  This is the challenge that confronts us all.  You can't afford to sit this battle out.

The help we need goes beyond just modifying the plan.  We need your help in spreading the plan.  Governor Richardson just had his first opportunity to hear about the plan over the last few days.  What about your governor?  Does he know about Energize America?

Does your senator know?  Has your congressman seen the plan?  Do your local officials have a copy?  What about your local Democratic organizations, are they on board?

You have candidates running in your district - we all do.  Some of them say they are grassroots candidates.  Others even claim to be "netroots" driven.  Are they supporting the only energy plan that grew up with the public support of those same netroots?  Talk to them about it.

Don't stop with the politicians.  Write your local paper.  Call local and national phone-in shows.  Heck, let them hear about it on NPR and on Rush.  Post at your blog, and other blogs.  Talk if over with your friends.

The best way to make some headway on this plan is to have as many people as possible both participating in and supporting the plan.

Here's one thing you can't do - you can't wait for the "experts."

Let me tell you a shocking secret: corporations and industry lobbying groups are not evil.  That's true even in the energy industry.  It's even true of energy corporations run by our current vice-president. They're not evil - but they are, by design, fabulously selfish.

Just look at what happened when some small changes were proposed to the Clean Air Act in 1990.  Industry groups insisted that the sulfur dioxide reductions required by the act would cost up to $7 billion a year - so much that it would require huge increases in the cost of electricity.  In practice, the real cost was less than 1/5 as much.

On nitrates, industry predicted that it would cost more than $14 billion a year.  It cost less than one.

Industry predicted that reformulated gas would add 16 cents a gallon. It actually cost three.

Industry said eliminating CFCs would cause major disruptions - maybe even bring on a depression.  Did you notice when they disappeared?

They said it would be decades before automakers could reach the first "low emission vehicle" standards.  It took four years.

The point is, corporations will not volunteer to clean up their act just because it's in the public good.  Running outdated technologies and pushing resources beyond their limits can be great - for the bottom line.

So when corporations tell you that they can't make their cars even cleaner, or that they can't sequester the carbon dioxide coming from their power plants, when they run commercials saying these things would cost us jobs, cost us power, and cost you money:  do not believe them.

Take a look at that little graph on the left.  The power industry loves that graph.  It shows that since 1970, average power plant emissions are way down.  They chopped acid rain causing SO2.  They cut nitrates in half.  And it's absolutely true.  But why did they do it? Because we made them do it.  You made them do it.

Corporations are selfish.  They have no concern for the common good. If something needs to be done for the public, it must be done through public means.  That means legislation.  If Energize America does not lead to legislation, then it leads nowhere at all.

Okay, that's it.  You've heard the plan.  You've seen the vision.

But then, I didn't have to tell you these things, because this is your plan.  This is your vision.  Energize America came from you, and it's utterly dependent on you to keep it moving forward.

One little thing I do want to point out here.  Down at the bottom of this slide, it says that Energize America is a "democratic solution." That's with a small "d," to show that the plan grew up open to suggestions and changes from all quarters.  However, while the plan may not be partisan, it's fully in line with Democratic - with a big "D" values.

When energy is clean and abundant, anything is possible.  If energy is expensive, dirty, and restricted, only the few will get by.

Are you concerned about the poor?  Make sure energy is clean and abundant.

Want to feed the hungry?  Make sure energy is clean and abundant.

Worried about national security?  Make sure energy is clean, abundant, and available from domestic sources.

You can do all those things by supporting Energize America.

Thank you.

Originally posted to Jerome a Paris on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 02:43 PM PDT.

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