Today the gloves come off.
That’s right, we are en route to Washington DC on the FREEDOM bus. And today, we’re drawing a line in the sand.
You see Rebecca and I just got back from another trip down to the Gulf of Mexico to attend the New Orleans Film Festival and check up on the folks we’ve been filming for the past 18 months. And unfortunately, I have bad news.
The oil is still gushing ashore from the Deepwater Horizon rig site, the toxic, agent-orange-like dispersants are still being sprayed and tens – possibly hundreds – of thousands of people are suffering from severe blood disorders due to air and water-borne oil and dispersant. It’s a real-life horror story. And it’s happening right here – in America.
But it doesn’t end with Louisiana. We have serious pressure to increase fracking along the East Coast, 68 million acres in the Arctic are about to be opened for drilling and – it looks like the US Federal Government and the Obama Administration will be moving ahead with the Keystone XL pipeline to connect the Alberta Tar Sands with the oil refineries in Louisiana and Texas. In short, the oil and fossil fuel companies are pushing harder than ever to cannibalize our great nation in order to squeeze more profits.
It’s sad and completely unnecessary. And today in Washington we’re going to take a stand – we’re holding a press conference and a screening of FREEDOM to prove the alternative path – advanced, scalable and renewable energy – is available today.
Alternative energy like American ethanol has already created more than 600,000 jobs in the United States. Alternative energies including wind, solar, and advanced biofuels are being made in American cities, reinvigorating our local economies and the nation’s, too. They are being made by American workers, offering them good-paying, stable jobs in a growing industry. It is also helping free us from costly foreign oil – and you from paying for it.
Despite the rhetoric you’ve heard, ethanol is energy positive by a factor of 2x, it uses 37 less gallons of water than gasoline per gallon produced and it can run in every regular automobile on the road today. It’s also cheaper.
But should it really come as a surprise that there is a cheaper alternative to petroleum that’s already being produced in vast quantities that could run in your car today?
Today we are going to reveal how the two groups that would seem most divided on the oil issue – big oil and environmentalists – often work together to thwart green fuels (the latter having been unknowingly co-opted by oil interests). A case in point is the recent barrage of assaults on the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), which mandates the US use an ever-increasing percentage of renewable fuels. Big oil and environmentalists are fighting the RFS – but the RFS is the only hope we have to get us beyond corn and toward using waste as fuel. This standard is critical to move beyond 10% ethanol in our gasoline – toward 15% and eventually 20%. Once we cross the “blend wall” of 10%, we will see biorefineries popping up across America – to produce clean alcohol fuel from garbage, waste and grass crops like sweet sorghum and hemp. But sadly, without the mandate, the fossil fuel interests will lull congress back to sleep and we will soon enter a new era of drilling and fracking.
Today we’re also going to point a finger at politicians who accept oil money only to turn against renewable fuels (as was recently seen by Senator Coburn’s (R-OK) actions against the USDA’s efforts to put blender pumps into gas stations. According to the Federal Election Commission, Coburn received over $415K from fossil fuel interests in the last decade). Honestly, wouldn’t you like a choice at the gas pump? Wouldn’t you like the ability to choose ethanol made from American fuel crops? Well, senators like Coburn don’t want you to have that freedom.
Here’s the bottom line – if our politicians will stop lining their pockets with oil money, we have the ability to create 8 million new jobs in America by the end of this decade in renewable fuels alone. That’s why Vice Admiral Dennis V. McGinn to and Four Star General Wesley Clark will be part of our press conference and screening. These guys are tied of seeing our young men and women come back from the Middle East in body bags – they’d rather see them working in the safe, clean renewable fuels industry – right here at home.
It’s really our choice: do we want to raise another generation of people who are saddled with the fact that we have to go to war for oil – every day? Or do we want to begin to use peaceful and begin technologies like ethanol, biodiesel, solar and wind to produce our energy? Do we want to leave our nation scarred and toxified for the next generation – or do we want to make a few compromises in our environmental “purism” and begin to put some serious wind energy online and some serious fuel production into places where we’ve gutted our farming industry?
This is the choice we pose in the Freedom movie. And it’s the choice we’re headed to Washington to put forth.
In the fight for true freedom, for environmental justice, and for a better world…
Which side are you on?
Rebecca Harrell Tickell
and the FREEDOM Team