Replace fossil fuels with clean energy

We in the Sierra Club agree with Canadian Counsel John Prato’s stated goals of utilizing the U.S.-Canada trading partnership to foster energy independence, create good jobs and encourage innovation. We also agree with reducing environmental impacts and carbon footprints, and providing economic gain for both countries.

However, we regret Prato’s misplaced trust in Canadian tar sands oil to reach these goals. This is a classic example of the limits of short-term thinking. In fact, fully exploiting the tar sands will result in destruction and damage to businesses, public health and our communities. The negative impacts promise to swamp any economic gains, and leave most U.S. and Canadian citizens, and our businesses communities, far worse off.

We are getting deeper and deeper into exactly the type of extreme weather that climate scientists have been predicting. Those same scientists have warned us that the tar sands are a “carbon bomb” that will push carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere way past a sustainable level. Even from a narrow business viewpoint, wasting more time with fossil fuel technologies will only put us at a greater disadvantage in global markets. Just look at other countries like Germany and China, which far outpace us in renewable energy manufacturing and exports.

Let’s find something else to talk about. Something like the long-term security and health of our region. The Sierra Club Niagara Group would love for the Canadian Consulate to give a presentation on the Ontario Green Energy program. It has replaced dirty energy sources with clean ones. It is encouraging thousands of ordinary citizens, non-profits, farmers and small businesses in Ontario to generate their own non-polluting, renewable energy. And, according to the Province of Ontario website, as of last June the Green Energy Act had created 31,000 jobs.

Bill Nowak

Sierra Club Niagara Group

Energy Committee, Buffalo