I want to elaborate on Stephen F. Eisenman’s opinion piece, “Chicago, once a swamp, also could be walloped by a catastrophic flood.” Chicago’s “stalled embrace of easily available green solutions” finally has an answer, and it’s the most comprehensive and aggressive climate and energy legislation ever introduced. U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., is a co-sponsor.
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While cities like Chicago and states like Illinois keep failing to adapt new, renewable technologies and instead hurtle onward toward climate disaster, some of our elected officials are finally taking a stand, this time on the national level. Last week, Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, announced her introduction of the first truly far-reaching climate and energy bill: the historic Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act (“Off Act”). This visionary piece of legislation would guide our cities and states toward a 100 percent clean and renewable future by moving our country completely off fossil fuels by 2035.
The OFF Act recognizes the need for bold action during the next 10 years and calls for a national transition to 80 percent renewable energy by 2027. In this case, clean energy means what it says: no fracked gas or dirty energy sources are green-washed as faux renewables. The OFF Act points to solar and other truly clean energy sources that would keep our valuable attractions, such as the sensitive Great Lakes here in the Midwest, pristine and safe.
As Eisenman notes, climate changes will keep happening, and they’ll keep worsening. We are in a climate emergency, and this bill is a recognition of the fact that climate scientists keep repeating: If we don’t stop consuming greenhouse gases and producing fossil fuels, our planet will pass the 2-degree Celsius mark that would mean irreversible damage to the world as we know it.
This bill is only the beginning of a growing national movement to get our country off fossil fuels to actually respond to the climate crisis we face. I urge the rest of our Illinois elected officials to follow Schakowsky’s lead. Let’s get off fossil fuels and onto a clean energy revolution once and for all.
Taylor Choy, West Town
Protect the Great Lakes
If you’ve been paying attention to the latest environmental news, you can’t read the recent editorial, “Two big reasons to stand up for Lake Michigan,” without immediately thinking of Line 5. It’s true that invasive species are a huge threat to the Great Lakes’ ecosystem but there’s also another large and looming predator.
The treacherous 64-year-old pipelines that run beneath the Straits of Mackinac, a waterway connecting Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, are still transporting oil through our precious lakes. This is despite the recent discovery that the outdated pipelines are actually missing entire sections of vital protective coating. In response, state officials issued “strongly worded statements” but failed the decommission the pipelines.
Enbridge, the owner of Line 5, claims that the pipelines could function indefinitely. Yet, it’s difficult to believe this claim when Enbridge is responsible for one of the most damaging and expensive inland oil spills in United States history: The Line 6b spill in the Kalamazoo River in Michigan.
Line 5 is one environmental invasion that we could easily stave off. The Great Lakes serve 35 million people and contain 20 percent of the world’s fresh water. We’re calling on Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette to protect our water on all fronts, invasive species and pipelines alike.
Jenya Polozova, Noble Square
Expense, but no benefit
At first I thought it was an Onion parody. That Chicago aldermen would think they can fix immigration by ordering landlords to install deadbolts is a great illustration of what’s wrong with Chicago politics. Our leaders don’t care how much hassle or expense they impose on private citizens, for little or no benefit. It’s not even a consideration; it’s not part of the equation. OK, I get it: Ald. Deb Mell (33rd) and Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) want Hispanic votes. They’d get more of them if they would take their job seriously.
Richard A. Crane, Lincoln Park