Like I said, yesterday Sarah Palin published an oped in the Washington Post, distorting the energy and environmental reform legislation we’re developing in Congress.
Yesterday afternoon, I jumped onto Huffington Post with a response:
Writing in this morning's Washington Post, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin wrote, "many in the national media would rather focus on the personality-driven political gossip of the day than on the gravity of these challenges."
Unfortunately, her promise to roll up her sleeves and tackle serious issues is followed by a column that focuses on everything but the single grave challenge that forms the basis of all of our actions: the crisis of global climate change.
But that’s just the beginning: Palin’s column ignored the entire problem and didn’t even get right the things it did cover.
For example, she said, "Job losses are so certain under this new cap-and-tax plan that it includes a provision accommodating newly unemployed workers from the resulting dried-up energy sector, to the tune of $4.2 billion over eight years. So much for creating jobs."
This is wrong. The pieces of energy reform legislation are job-creation machines. A joint report by PERI Center for American Progress Report calculated that $150 billion in clean-energy investments would create upwards of 1.7 million jobs. These include construction and manufacturing employment for wind- industry turbine manufacture, building retro-fitting, high speed rail development and infrastructure build out and improvement. These are all domestic and community based local jobs. And a joint CAP/UMass study estimated that the legislation would bring down the national unemployment rate from 9.4% to 8.4%.
The money she mentions (which works out to be about $525 million a year) is for retraining people to take advantage of these new jobs. This is a bill to retool our energy economy for the 21st century, and we need to make sure that as many people as possible are available to fill these new jobs.
She also says, ""For example, the cost of farming will certainly increase, driving down farm incomes while driving up grocery prices."
This is wrong. Farmers are in position to benefit both from providing a broad variety of sustainable fuels to power generators and from land-use fee income associated with wind farms and other sources. The DOE estimates that if 5% of US energy is derived by 2020 from wind power, rural America could see $60 billion in capital investment. Rural landowners could also derive $1.2 billion in new income and see 80,000 jobs over the next two decades.
Using farm-based biomass for fuel gives a major new market to our country’s farmers, giving them significant sources of new income, not costs as Sarah Palin asserts.
I could go on and on, but I’ll just do one more. Governor Palin said, "As the president eloquently puts it, their electricity bills will ‘necessarily skyrocket.’"
Again, this is wrong. Every major study has concluded that will not place any undue burden on consumers in their electricity bills, with the costs ranging from a net decrease in costs for the Americans struggling hardest to pay the bills (those in the lowest quintile of income) to a gain of about $20 a month for the richest Americans.
We need a real debate – and a vigorous one. That means that no one can play loose with the facts and ignore the real climate crisis. I’m working on this literally every day, talking to my colleagues, working daily with Sen. Boxer, publishing the facts, and we all need to do the same. I’ll be back throughout the fall with specific things you can do to help, but for now -- keep your eyes and ears open. When you see something in your local paper that’s wrong, let them know you notice. When your friends or family members say something that’s wrong, let them know the truth.
This fight is too important to stand on the sidelines.
Thanks for all you do, and I’ll be back while we fight this fight.
update: Thanks for all the kind words. Good to be back here on Kos, will be here often in the fall as we fight this out in the Senate. Busy day, but I’ll dive into some comments later – but two quick thoughts: 1. Barbara Boxer is doing tremendous work on this issue and I’m lucky to have her as a partner, and we’re all lucky to have her as a champion and 2. Someone asked ‘why respond to Palin?’ – my take: when something’s flat out wrong and it’s part of the news cycle, you use the truth to crush it before it takes on a life of its own, and climate change legislation is way too important to topple under the weight of distortions from anywhere or anyone.
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