Sunday, May 01, 2005

Blogging the Cegelis Arbor Day Speech

Christine Cegelis held an Arbor Day event today at the Thornhill Education Center at Morton Arboretum, located at the southern end of IL-06 between Glen Ellyn and Downers Grove and Lisle. A neighbor went along to the event with me, helping me overcome my introverted nature, so I could be a part of the event. After Cegelis was done with her speech, I was able to get a copy and wanted to post parts of it here in the Blogosphere. Since it was her event, it was well received by a supportive crowd, but I still felt it exemplifies why she deserves our support. In short: she gets it.

The text below is from the prepared comments at the event today. She began with laying out the costs of energy dependence:
...Our reliance on foreign oil increases our security risks in the world. As the prices for our reliance on fossil fuels rise, the opportunities they represent are diminishing--along with viable supplies of these non-renewable fuels.

We can wait for independent researchers to find solutions. For corporations or foreign markets to lead the way. Or we can rely on commodities that have never been in short supply in America--ingenuity and leadership. We can ask our government to lead, to set a bold vision toward a future of renewable energy and of independence from foreign oil. To give our children a dream they can build on and participate in.

We will not achieve energy independence by paying lip service to renewable energy while giving record subsidies to fossil fuel industries. Or by building new oil refineries on old military bases as President Bush has proposed. Even oil companies call that an inefficient way to meet supply demands.

We will not do it with the special-interest giveaways the House Energy Bill provides. Industry lobbyists spent hundreds of millions to get provisions in this bill that will eliminate energy regulations designed to prevent market manipulation and consumer gouging on energy rates.

Even analysts with the conservative Heritage Foundation are critical of the House Energy Bill, saying, "The bottom line is, it's not going to provide the power that's needed for the economy so people can turn on their lights. It's such a farce."

But there are real solutions to the problems we face. Many of them will not only save money on energy and decrease our dependence on foreign oil, they’ll also create good jobs and grow the economy. Smart government policies and investments can drive the energy revolution, if only we had the leadership to make it happen.
At this point, she went on to name a lengthy list of environmentally friendly and green options such as promoting hybrid cars, revising building codes, higher energy standards and energy efficient appliances, investment in new durable goods and U.S. factories to manufacture them, renewable energy development and the economic opportunity it brings, alternative energy technologies like wind and solar, and finally transportation improvements and public transportation options to support job growth. All of these options were related directly to job growth:
The Apollo Alliance estimates changes like these would generate an additional 10.6 billion dollars of economic activity in Illinois alone. It would create 158,980 jobs in the state including 30,920 new manufacturing jobs and 22,061 new construction jobs. Because of strong wind and bio-energy resources, the Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that Illinois has the potential to generate nearly eight times its current electricity needs from renewable energy. With only 20 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable energy, total consumer savings in Illinois from lower energy prices would be more than $2.3 billion by the year 2020.

These are all changes we could be making now. They are changes we should be making now. And they’re changes I’ll fight for if you elect me to Congress. But these changes are only a start.

In the past, our federal government has led and funded dreams for the future. We embraced space exploration. We put our best minds and hearts into the effort to put men on the moon. And that inspired children to study math and physics, to dream beyond the limits of man’s knowledge. This is the essence of American innovation--making the imagined real, creating a future that others can’t even dream of. We cannot do this if we’re stuck in the past. If our definition of exploration is looking for oil in ANWAR.
The ANWAR line brought a raucous amount of laughter from the crowd. Her close:
Our government needs the will and commitment to take the steps we can today, and to fuel the science and innovation that will lead to unknown advances for the future. In this way we will fulfill Morton’s vision and be good trustees of the earth, the future, and the American dream.

I ask you to join me in that fight. Please contribute today and work with me to reclaim the American dream.
Learn more about Christine Cegelis here.