Some time ago, I wrote Michael Burgess regarding the obligation of Congress to take on the issue of Global Warming. Having seen the evidence, and knowing that scientists are almost universally in agreement on it, I feel that it’s a moral imperative for us to take action.
Today I received the following letter from Michael Burgess: (I’ve commented and emphasized throughout)
July 26, 2006
Dear [name deleted],
Thank you for sharing your concerns regarding global warming. I appreciate hearing your views on this important matter. The future of the environment is a critical issue for the United States. I personally realized long ago that we must care for the environment, because if we do not, we will have nothing left for
I suppose I have to take Burgess at his word on this. Burgess and I both drive Hybrid cars. As a person with the amount of scientific training necessary to become a doctor, Burgess should take heed when the world’s scientific community gives warning of impending crisis.
If we are going to preserve this world for future generations, we must take steps that will protect our natural resources without depleting our economy.
Again, I agree somewhat, though I would split hairs and say that an economy cannot be “depleted.” Natural resources can be depleted, but economies are remarkably resilient. Environmental controls do have monetary costs that must be borne by the industry being cleaned up. These costs are indeed passed along to the consumer.
Our ability to correct and improve the world around us is critically dependent on our society's affluence created by technological advances.
Mike, here’s where you lose me. Affluence has NOTHING to do with our ability to correct and improve the world around us. In fact our affluence is a contributing factor to our NEED to correct the world around us. Our consumption-based society has for years used a disproportionate share of natural resources. As other nations modernize, their consumption will increase as well, exacerbating the problem.
Technological advance is a double-edged sword. It can be used to further the goals of keeping a clean planet and conserve our precious natural resources, or it can lead to squandered resources.
As such, both goals of environmental protection and economic stability do not need to be mutually exclusive.
I totally agree with you here, Mike. Green business is good business, especially when your competitors have to play by the same rules.
There are many ways to protect and preserve our environment, ranging from local zoning laws to funding restoration programs. The decision on which method to implement, however, should not be dictated from Washington, DC, but should include an open dialogue with all local interests and governments represented.
Not only do I strongly disagree with your statement on so many levels, but I have to challenge the intellectual honesty of your assertion. I’ve spoken to you personally about energy issues, and I know that you have an aversion to coal-fired power plants. You told me so. You know that carbon dioxide is a pollutant that affects the global climate, so for you to imply that this is a local issue is just a cop-out.
Air pollution is a problem that crosses geopolitical boundaries, and as such needs to be regulated and controlled at the HIGHEST possible levels. Not only in Washington, but world-wide. We had the opportunity to level the world-wide playing field and make pollution control an economically winnable problem by signing the Kyoto treaty.
As a father of two children with asthma, I resent the fact that Washington politicians, including those who know better, such as you, choose to toe the party-line and continue to ignore the mounting problems posed by carbon dioxide as well as other pollutants such as ozone, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and mercury.
The “local interests” that you mention are corporations with a stake in producing their goods and services at the lowest possible cost. Because of this, they will approach the “governments represented,” who will quickly find it in their economic interest to offer lax pollution controls as an incentive. It’s a no-win game, and it provides an unfair playing field. Those governments that play by the rules and work to preserve the environment will see a reduction in their tax base. Those governments prone to corruption and looking for an influx of tax base will be rewarded for their inaction and bad stewardship.
We will see a "race to the bottom" if pollution controls are returned to the state and local levels.
I also note that over the past two election cycles, you've taken in $17,000 from TXU's electric-related PACs. TXU is the largest operator of coal-fired power plants in Texas.
You may be assured that I will continue to monitor these issues and will keep your views in mind whenever environmental policy decisions come before the U.S. Congress for consideration. Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me. I appreciate having the opportunity to represent you in the U.S. House of Representatives. Please feel free to visit my website (www.house.gov/burgess) or contact me with any future concerns
Likewise, Mike, you should know that I and many other of your constituents will also monitor these issues as well as your votes when these issues come before you in the house. You are in a position to do a lot to make this world a better place, but you continually vote against the interests of North Texans. With all due respect, I must ask that you muster some courage and put forth the legislation that you know is needed in this regard.
Michael C. Burgess, M.D.
Member of Congress
Whosplayin.com is an open forum where we discuss issues of importance to North Texans and Americans in general in an open and honest fashion. I would like to invite Mr. Burgess or any of his supporters to sign up and post a response if you wish, but know that this is a "no spin zone".
Keywords: Michael Burgess, Clean Air, Pollution, Affluence, Hybrids