Letter - Congressional "Green Act of 2019"

from David Dow of East Falmouth

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The US House of Representatives and Senate are considering a a bill to: “Growing Renewable Energy and Efficiency Now Act of 2019” which might benefit the residents of Cape Cod.  This bill would: provide clean energy tax incentives; increase the number of Electric Vehicles (EVs) that are eligible for the federal tax credit; update and extend existing tax incentives for energy efficiency improvements in commercial and residential buildings; extend the 30% tax investment credit for energy storage systems and extend tax incentives for solar, wind and other clean energy technologies.

Since Cape Cod and the Islands are already experiencing the effects of global warming in the surrounding ocean (declines in lobster fishing; Gulf of Maine cod fisheries; Atlantic sea herring; etc.) and impacts on land from flooding from extreme weather events; tornado and Northeaster wind damage; extended droughts during the Summer; more hot, humid weather; etc., we need to take action to mitigate and adapt to climate change effects as soon as possible. The Cape Cod Commission recently held three hearings on ways to include climate change in the Regional Policy Plan, while the Cape Cod Climate Change Collaborative held a forum on moving to Net Zero and its Energy Justice Working Group sponsored a meeting in Chatham on Climate Change and Environmental Justice.

Last night I heard an interview with Dr. John Foley on LINK TV’s YAMP Solutions documentary show on Project Drawdown which has developed 8o approaches to address climate change effects using existing technologies/grassroots approaches. He pointed out that current federal subsidies favor the oil/gas/coal companies and we need to reverse these with programs to support renewal energy sources; greater fuel efficiency for automobiles and trucks; more energy efficient buildings; alternatives to industrial agriculture; etc.  Population growth in third world countries can be addressed by educating women and providing advice on family planning.  Emerging middle classes in Brazil, China, India, etc. aspire to US life styles, but can avoid green house gas production associated with conspicuous consumption and meat oriented diets.

He pointed out that their 80 programs would reduce ghg emissions, while at the same time providing more jobs and a stronger economy.  Cape Cod needs more good paying jobs, so that younger people can afford to live here in homes or rent apartments. A recent newspaper article pointed out that it costs over $32,000 per year for seniors to live independently on Cape Cod and that half of our residents lack these resources if they rely solely on social security.

Numerous residents depend on these federal incentives to have roof top solar panels; increased energy efficiency in homes and more fuel efficient vehicles.  Our less affluent seniors and those working in service industries often rely on the public transportation system which is in the process of being upgraded.  Much  of our coastal infrastructure is threatened by storm flooding during extreme weather events, King tides and relative sea level rise.  Cape Bay lobster pots suffered deaths from hypoxia last Summer in Cape Cod Bay.  Thus the “Green Act of 2019” is legislation that would get us started in addressing these challenges.

David Dow, East Falmouth, Ma.

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