Roy Innis

Congress and the White House, Democrats and Republicans finally agree on something!

We need a stimulus package, they intone. The economy is stagnating, unemployment is climbing, families can’t pay their bills. We have to prime the pump, reduce interest rates, increase unemployment benefits, provide temporary tax relief.

These unlicensed physicians are prescribing aspirin to counteract the poisons they routinely inject into our economy, while they prepare even bigger doses of arsenic.

Every one of these supposed shots of economic adrenaline is counteracted by toxic policies that drive up prices, cause layoffs and put families on energy welfare. It would be laughable, if it weren’t so hypocritical.

Oil, gas, coal and other resources on America’s citizen-owned public lands could meet US energy needs for centuries. Developing these resources – with full regard for ecological values – would generate jobs, economic growth and tax revenues, stabilize energy prices, and reduce our need to buy oil from unfriendly countries.

Onshore and offshore public lands could hold enough oil to produce gasoline for 60 million cars and fuel oil for 25 million homes for 60 years – and enough natural gas to heat 60 million homes for 160 years.

But Energy Killer legislators, regulators, courts and eco activists have made most of them unavailable to the workers and families who own them. In addition, a Utah area with a trillion dollars worth of public coal was placed off-limits by President Clinton. Nuclear power has been in a regulatory stranglehold for decades. And activists blocked construction of dozens of coal-fired electricity plants in 2007.

The “energy” legislation President Bush just signed doesn’t foster the production of a single drop of oil, whiff of natural gas, or kilowatt of new coal or nuclear power. No wonder OPEC ministers rejected his plea to increase oil production. Instead, the bill:

* Adds $6,000 to the price of new cars, while reducing passenger safety, by forcing manufacturers to downsize cars to meet 35 mpg ratings;

* Replaces billions of incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lights, necessitating expensive recycling facilities that can safely handle the mercury in each CFL;

* Increases ethanol production to 35 billion gallons a year – five times what we produced last year from corn grown on an area the size of Indiana, using 42 billion gallons of water and 5 billion gallons of petroleum (for fertilizers, pesticides and fuel);

* Promotes wind power – although generating enough electricity to power New York City requires huge turbines across an area the size of Connecticut, and they only work eight hours a day on average.

Roy Innis

Roy Innis is national chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), one of America’s oldest and most respected civil rights groups, and a life-long advocate of economic development rights for poor families and communities around the world.