Time to take gasoline prices seriously - and take action
I am glad to see that, so far, the Kansas Legislature has not been able to pass into law a bill approving construction of two coal-powered energy plants in far-western Kansas.
The Kansas Legislature had twice passed bills allowing the construction of the two plants by Sunflower Electric Company, but Gov. Kathleen Sebelius had twice vetoed them. Those in favor of the bill then failed to muster the two-thirds majority vote needed to override the governor's veto. Sebelius said she favors renewable energy resources, and these plants would mostly serve eastern Colorado - not Kansans.
I think Sebelius has shown courage and wisdom. There are those eager for the profits these plants would bring them, but I think that we have reached a point in our development in which we must look at the long-term future for our planet and not condone pollution for a quick windfall profit for a few.
I've always been respectful of property rights of others, but on the other hand, I believe that with ownership comes a serious responsibility. Just because one owns a piece of land doesn't mean that he or she should have the right to pollute it or destroy it for all future generations. We must make decisions about energy and other necessities that take into consideration all the effects on our world and its people.
There is no question that energy supplies are tough calls. We start using gasoline made from agricultural products such as corn to balance out our reliance on oil, and suddenly food prices go up. Corn is used to feed animals in our food chain and also used in an overwhelming abundance of foods. However, short supplies of gasoline make our food prices go up also, because of the added cost of getting items to the market. It's sometimes a difficult trade-off with all the factors involved.
Sometimes, it seems we need to be hit with dire consequences before we actually take global problems seriously. Back in the 1970s when gas supplies to our country were severely curtailed by an embargo, there were cars lining up at service stations to get gasoline at any price. We owned a gas-guzzling big car, which was fairly new, but we decided because of my husband's long commute to work to go for a diesel Rabbit - a car made by Volkswagen. It was great for us at the time because it got 40 miles or so to a gallon. However, the embargo went away, people became accustomed to higher gasoline prices, and the market for gas guzzlers grew like a hog in corn country.
In the past few years, large SUV's and other gas-guzzling monsters seem to have taken over the highways. Just recently, we've seen hybrid gas and electric vehicles become more popular, but they don't get mileage substantially better than that diesel Rabbit.
I suppose my question is why didn't the American public take that burp in gas supply seriously?
I wonder if we would be involved in the quagmire that exists in Iraq today if we were not so dependent on oil.
I hope we take the current record high gas prices seriously and start to do something substantial to protect our planet from global warming and depletion of natural resources. It's only a matter of time when clean air and potable water begin to become issues for all of us. Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren may have to line up for clean drinking water and a whiff of good air. Destroying our environment is surely a sacrilege for people of all faiths.
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