A bipartisan effort on RES needed to compete globally

It is great to hear that senators are working together in a genuinely bipartisan fashion to pass a national renewable energy standard (RES). The news comes none too soon, as foreign competitors such as China, Germany and Japan are already working to aggressively build up their renewable-energy industries. Members of both parties can agree that a cleaner, more diversified energy economy is desirable in terms of our global competitiveness and national health and security.  

Contrary to being bad for business, an RES would finally remove the uncertainty holding investors back from committing to the long-term development of the domestic renewable-energy industry. A national RES is a pragmatic, reasonable policy and not a pie-in-the-sky idea — 27 states and the District of Columbia already have some form of RES on the books, and five other states have set voluntary goals for the utilization of renewable energy. In fact, the Senate proposal seems downright modest in comparison to existing state standards. Maine, for example, has a target of having utilities derive 40 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2017, and New York is shooting for 24 percent by 2013, whereas the Bingaman-Brownback bill pushes for only 15 percent by 2021. Of course, the Senate legislation has the added benefit of providing states with the flexibility to meet a quarter of the RES through energy-efficiency measures. 

In light of the Gulf of Mexico catastrophe, it is high time we recognize that oil is not the only domestic energy resource worth tapping — our nation is also blessed with enormous wind, solar, biomass and other renewable energy potential. A national RES would be a great step forward in growing those burgeoning domestic industries and creating jobs in the process. 

Arlington, Va.

Israeli settlements could spark nuclear retribution 

From Helen Logan

The left hand of American expansion in the 1800s convinced Americans it was their manifest destiny to settle the “wild west.” And the right hand of expansion committed genocide on the Native Americans who stood in the way of American settlements. 

The only difference between the Palestinians of today and their brothers on the American plains a century ago is that Palestinians have strong Arab allies who defend them against Israel’s right hand.

As the global economic crisis dries up pacifying American foreign aid to Palestinians and their Arab brothers in the Middle East, the opacity of both Israel and Iran’s nuclear weapons capacity might become very clear if Israeli continues to occupy Palestinian territory. 

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has had to watch Israel’s right fist near his face, and so he looks over his shoulder toward Iran and says, “Israel must choose between peace and the continuation of (Israeli) settlements.”

Fullerton, Calif. 

Why should gov’t define  the ‘sustainable’ lifestyle

From Lawrence Burke

If the proposed Livable Communities Act of 2009 is constitutional, that must refer to the old Soviet Constitution, not ours. The object is to make life “sustainable” for the planet, reduce the carbon footprints and save us from the discredited global warming fraud.  Who asked the big spenders in Washington to trim our lifestyle to what they consider “sustainable”? What isn’t sustainable is the bloated size of government and its collectivist projects. Our government’s purpose is the protection of our God-given rights, not micromanagement of our existence. 

Roslyn, N.Y.