Thursday, April 7, 2011

Obama to visit Indiana plant, tout green vehicles

(From The Detroit News): (thank you Mutepe Olaudah for alerting me to this)

Washington — President Barack Obama will visit an Indianapolis auto transmission plant on Friday — the latest in his efforts to sell his "green" vehicle agenda.

Obama will travel to the facilities of Allison Transmission Holdings Inc. "to continue discussing his long-term plan to protect consumers against rising oil prices and decrease oil imports while ensuring a cleaner, safer, and more secure energy future."

This is exciting, to a degree. Lauren had told me about her conversation with some "electric vehicle" folks demonstrating their technology on university campuses. She was furious to learn that these new "electric vehicles" cost up to $40,000 to $50,000 to consumers. All the while, the cars were plugged into electrical outlets powered by coal. (Indiana is very proud of the fact that it is a leading producer of coal energy.)

Nearly all of Indiana's electricity is generated by coal, which sends more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere for the amount of energy produced than any other energy source.

In a few days, I will post a blog written by another regular contributor, Leontiy Korolev. He wrote a short peice for me about the environmentalist's uphill battle here in Indiana. I do want to give you a preview here:

As Indiana residents, we have the:

· 12th highest added cancer risk.
· 14th highest health risks from criteria air pollutants.
· 9th in toxic chemicals with respect to total environmental releases.
· 8th in releases of toxic chemicals into the air.
· 2nd in releases of toxic chemicals into the water.
· 4th in releases of recognized carcinogens to the air.
(from Scorecard)
Click here to see a story about an Indiana father's lawsuit targets polluters, including U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal (story posted in 2009).

So let me ask this question:

I welcome President Obama to the state of Indiana, but will he address the problems of environmental justice, environmental product access, energy production that will "fuel" these electric vehicles? If we continue to burn fossil fuel for the sake of these few electric vehicles only meant for the rich and wealthy as a status symbol, or as a political handle for these government contractors, will we ever make a real difference in our environment? in our sustainability as a community, a nation, a specie, and a planet?

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