Empowering Communities, Advocating Solutions


Source: The Journal News

Letter to the editor: Develop alternatives to fossil fuels

Re "'Don't ask, don't tell' a dangerous energy policy," May 7 Earth Watch column:

Posted: May 26, 2010
Originally Published: May 24, 2010

The above-referenced article correctly contends that while our demand for energy continues to rise, not enough is being done to transition away from fossil fuels, which bear an enormous risk to our environment. The Gulf Coast disaster is quickly becoming the worst environmental disaster in our nation's history, largely because this country has dragged its feet on the development of renewables such as offshore wind. Accidents will happen. We cannot continue to rely on fossil fuels and then be surprised when ecosystems are devastated from oil spills.

As the oil continues to spew from the ocean floor, it will degrade Gulf states' shorelines and possibly travel up the Atlantic coast. The oil will kill countless fish, crustaceans, turtles, birds and other wildlife. It will permeate thriving wetlands and decimate a multibillion-dollar fishing industry. This loss underscores the importance of investments in the environment, which translate into a healthy ecosystem, economy and way of life. The Long Island Sound is an estuary of national significance, which generates $8.5 billion to our regional economy. While the Sound has seen improvements over recent years, it has been consistently under-funded. Meaningful funding is needed for restoration and stewardship.

Clean water resources keenly benefit us. Investments in our estuaries and wetlands protect us from floods, increase fin-fish and shellfish populations, shelter endangered species, and act as destinations for millions of tourists. A successful future for Long Island Sound will not be by chance, it will be the product of applying the lessons learned in the Gulf: rejecting fossil fuels as a future energy source, supplying oversight to avoid catastrophes and investing in vital restoration and stewardship efforts.

Matt Wallach
The writer is program coordinator, Citizens Campaign for the Environment