Stimulus Bill good on wind and solar, bad on highways

To the editor,

            While the stimulus bill includes many good provisions, such as investments in wind and solar energy, it also contains funding for massive environmental destruction and climate change-causing infrastructure like highways. 

            We should eliminate the funding for new highways, like the unnecessary Nelsonville , Ohio bypass that is destroying the Wayne National Forest in my backyard.  Instead, our country should invest much more in high speed rail and mass transit.

Driving tons of metal around when all we need to move is a 150-pound person is insane from a resource point of view: what a waste of oil that we import from other countries.  When we add climate change concerns, we are committing mass murder to future generations, with billions of people predicted to die this century according to top scientists unless we make major changes very fast.

Rather than more highways and decades of continued oil addiction, we can have 200+ mile per hour trains running on solar and wind energy.  This will exponentially reduce the consumption of gasoline and diesel the sucks $700 billion from our country’s economy annually.

The stimulus bill helps somewhat toward this goal with renewable energy investment, but it also does the opposite by investing in new highways that will continue our fossil fuel addiction for decades to come.

While we need to make sure our bridges do not collapse, nearly all new road and highway construction should cease, and be replaced with passenger rail development: a wondrous way of travel that is tens of times more energy efficient and hundreds of times safer than driving.  Looking out on the landscape, trains are luxurious and pleasant.

More importantly, why more people are not heeding the concerns of top scientists on climate change deeply troubles me.  Too many people are invested in companies that make highways, cars and coal-generated power.  They just stick their heads in the sand when climate change is mentioned.

For future generations this is just about the only issue that they will care about.  Whether we can keep our climate livable or not is the number one issue affecting our children, and we need to transform all of our priorities, and above all at this moment the hundreds of billions of dollars in this stimulus bill to meet these needs.  Otherwise we are just wasting this money on a gas guzzling infrastructure doomed to fail, and devastating our environment in the process.

We can create a much better, more efficient world, in which we can move around at 200 miles per hour while we relax, eat, read the paper or meet people from around the world as we go to and from work: all while getting exponential fuel savings.  We create a world in which we can eliminate all the stress of buying and maintaining cars, getting auto insurance and driving in increasingly extreme weather and congestion.

The money we would save in health care by reducing pollution alone would likely pay for the high speed rail and renewable power infrastructure, not to mention the quality of life improvement of breathing clean air and being healthier.

Ultimately, we should consider our legacy.  If we ignore climate change, we are unleashing a holocaust that vastly eclipses that seen in World War II that will progressively worsen with no way back.  Is that the future we want to leave our children?


Chad Kister

Nelsonville , Ohio


Kister is the Author of Arctic Quest: Odyssey Through a Threatened Wilderness, Arctic Melting: How Climate Change is Destroying One of the World's Largest Wilderness Areas and Against All Odds: The Struggle to Save The Ridges, and producer of the film, Caribou People.  The second edition of Arctic Melting is coming out soon.; 740-707-4110; 740-753-3888

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