Green Party’s Candidate for Governor talks Green Economics Energy Independent Oregon - Leading the Nation by Taking Care of Business at Home by Joe Keating
Oregon is one state in a nation of states and we are thus affected by the changing fortunes of the whole. Many policies of the federal government waste not only the national treasury—they waste state and personal assets. From unjust foreign wars of intervention that send young Oregonians into the killing fields, to predatory economic policies designed to reward wealth, people of the State of Oregon are being abused.
There is a way out of the mess and we Oregonians have a unique opportunity to lead this nation by example. Simply put, we can get our own house in order by developing a green economy. An economy based on sustainability, community, and profitability is attainable today, if we put our collective shoulders to the wheel. We CAN have universal health care. We CAN have a first class quality education system. The lens of green economics allows a vision for Oregon that places sharp focus on such important infrastructure and quality of life issues, while lessening dependence on the federal government and foreign oil. Oregon can truly become a state that stands on its own two feet, regardless of the misguided edicts of a George Bush. If we lead by example, other states will follow. Energy Independent Oregon is a map for how we will succeed.
Power to the People! As I have visited communities all over Oregon on the campaign trail, I have learned a lot. I’ve learned there is real concern about energy use, global warming, and the future we face as we look at the link between these two things. Citizens know about the Pacific Ocean dead zone (an area the size of Rhode Island) off our coast caused by changing climate. They are fed up with rising gas prices, oil supply uncertainties, and the dismal Middle East conflicts. These are the interlinked facts we face today, and the situation is getting worse. It is time for the people of Oregon to get serious about our need for an Energy Independent Oregon.
Energy Independent Oregon starts with Conservation. It then introduces alternative energy programs that are technically doable, financially affordable, and environmentally sustainable. We must develop all available renewable energy systems, including wind, biomass, biodiesel, and solar energy.
Oregon must become the first low emission state in the US. What we’re looking at is complete overhaul of the current system, which currently rewards/subsidizes utility projects that pollute our pristine environment. Coal is out. Green is in. When I’m elected I will ensure that projects receiving government easements and public tax dollars MUST contribute to the development of low emitting power solutions.
Small & Smart Wind power has zero fuel costs and zero carbon emissions, once installed. By the end of this year, the Northwest will have over 1,400 megawatts (MW) of wind generating capacity in service. That’s a 1400% jump from the less than 100 MW in service in the year 2000, and it is only the beginning.
With this and other sensible, real world examples in mind, I propose to reprioritize public spending as the first step to creating a viable, long-term economy. This Energy Independent Oregon vision includes a matrix of Rural Community Energy Centers (RCEC) throughout the state. RCECs are small rural cooperatives that generate power to their respective communities through a mix of solar, wind, biomass, and biodiesel.
Is it doable? YES. It already exists. Take the 18 MW Bio Mass plant at The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs in central Oregon. Under a 20-year memorandum of understanding, the Tribe aims to gather fuel from poorly managed federal lands to reduce the fire load. This creates jobs and could easily be used to spur a local force protecting and enhancing Oregon’s natural resources. And it is not an isolated example. The Oregon Department of Energy reports biomass facilities in Oregon generated more than 1,100 megawatt-hours of electricity in 2004.
Other forms of renewable and sustainable energy production are affordable and also at hand. A biodiesel process converting locally grown pressable crops for a community of 5,000 people currently costs less than $35,000.
Energy Independent Oregon calls for the advancement of a statewide direct load control monitoring system. Shifting loads during times of peak demand may be one solution to the Northwest’s congested transmission system. Overall Oregon could save green house emissions and resources to create an industry that will make our utilities responsive to the needs of the new millennium and future generations.
Energy Independent Oregon will create jobs while investing in a secure and predictable energy independent future. We are talking about developing a green economy to take us into the future, and the way to do that is to bring Power to the People! We will lead the nation by taking care of business at home.
Joe Keating is a community activist and public servant. He is a graduate of Georgetown University, is the father of three, and served in the US Army during Viet Nam. From 1988 to 1991, he worked as the operations director and action coordinator for Oregon Greenpeace after which he served as a director and coordinator of United Community Action Network. In 1994, he worked as station manager for KBOO Radio. In 1996 Joe was the Pacific Green candidate for Congress. He served as the chair of the Oregon Sierra Club from 1999 to 2000. At the Oregon Center for Environmental Health he served as Portland Harbor campaign coordinator from 2001 to 2003. Additionally from 2001 to 2002 he coordinated the Mount Hood campaign of the Cooper Spur Wild and Free Coalition.
Since 1995, he served as a director of the Oregon Wildlife Federation. He is also columnist for the Portland Alliance newspaper. Currently Joe is the regional coordinator of Back 2 the WALL.
Joe is an innovative activist. He is a founding member of Citizens for Peace and a Rational Energy Policy, the Portland Utility Review Board, Portland’s Yellow Bike program, Witness Against Lawless Logging (WALL), Portland Harbor Community Advisory Group, and the Pacific Green Party of Oregon. Joe currently resides in Portland, Oregon.
Check out his website: www.keatingforgovernor.org Join our: Go! Joe listserve: http://forum.greens.org/mailman/listinfo/gojoe-annc Join the Pacific Green Party and help build a movement: www.pacificgreens.org