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PSR Responds to the President’s State of the Union Address

January 24, 2007

PSR is pleased the president acknowledges the energy crisis looming in this country and the challenges we face in addressing global warming. However, once again the president’s proposals are far short of the leadership we need in these areas.

Ultimately, energy choices will impact everyone’s health. While voluntary goals to reduce pollution are laudable, we know from past environmental and public health challenges that a regulatory regime is what works.  Mr. Bush’s comments last night are equivalent to a doctor defining a strict regiment for recovery and then telling the patient it is optional.

As we will learn shortly from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is due to release its latest report in February, the evidence for human caused global warming is without question, and the catastrophic results of climate change could be upon us very quickly if we do not act. Yet, the president offered only one sentence in his address, simply recognizing “the serious challenge of global climate change.’ We have to cure this disease called global warming, and it will require an energy revolution that includes mandatory controls with declining caps on greenhouse gas pollution.

On one energy policy the president is dead wrong — nuclear power. The president referred to new energy technologies and categorized nuclear as clean and safe. It is neither. The environmental and public health hazards created by this energy choice far outweigh any benefits it might offer.

Additionally, we are disappointed this administration continues the march toward a second cold war. The president’s plan to reestablish a nuclear weapons complex that will bring the U.S. to cold war era capacity is irresponsible in terms of international diplomacy and a misuse of financial resources. The president warned of the regime in Tehran acquiring a nuclear weapon and called for an Asian “peninsula free of nuclear weapons.” In contrast, U.S. continues to move farther away from the non-proliferation treaty, and is promoting a new arms race. We must lead by example.

We know that production and use of nuclear weapons can lead to a human health catastrophe. Surely we have learned our lessons in this area. It is time for the president to acknowledge that lesson and step back from the brink of uncontrolled nuclear expansion.

The President gave national security priority to the threat of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism and to the specter that Al Qaeda might seek Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). However, in subtle ways, the President tried again to build a link between 9/11 and the war in Iraq, a link which has been disproved time and again. The President also hints that to leave Iraq would be to put American security at risk, this despite the fact that our continued occupation and military operations there are spawning a new generation of jihadis dedicated to attacking the United States and have undermined trust in America and its values throughout the region.

PSR remains opposed to the administration’s surge in Iraq and threatening gestures to Iran. Diplomacy is the best path in the Middle East, and the U.S. needs to provide the leadership that will bring the United States and rest of the world along toward peaceful resolutions to these conflicts. 

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