Letter to the Editor: Rising gas prices and falling houses

Published 6:51 am Thursday, March 31, 2022

To the Editor:

Thank you to congressman Murphy for his resent live phone conference Town Hall meeting and online priority survey. One of the major topics was American energy independence and how to achieve it. We agree that the war in Europe emphasizes our need for energy independence. We do not wish to be threatened with energy insecurity by a foreign power. However, we are disappointed that his preferred solution is more oil production in the United States.
There are four reasons why energy independence should be achieved though clean, renewable energy sources instead of more drilling. The first reason why we should look to renewable energy is because as long as we are addicted to and dependent on gasoline, we will remain vulnerable to gas price spikes due to world events and the whims of petroleum companies. The long-haul solution to true energy independence is to establish stable, sustainable domestic clean energy sources.

Secondly, switching to electrical vehicles (EVs) is more affordable than specified in the Coastland Times guest opinion by Ray Nothstine, “Bludgeoning the Poor with Higher Gas Prices” March 17, 2022. While there are luxury EVs than sell for $75,000 to $100,000 there are less expensive ones in the same price range as hybrid and gas-powered vehicles. The Chevy Bolt EV (https://www.chevrolet.com/electric/bolt-ev), as an entry level car, starts at $31,500 and includes free charging at more than 40,000 public charging stations. There are, however, a number of hybrid cars (https://www.edmunds.com/hybrid/#hybrid-cars) that average 45 or more miles per gallon, starting at $27,500. The notion that electric vehicles are only for the rich is not necessarily true.

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Thirdly, not only is energy security an immediate need, so is saving our natural and man-made environments. Loss of homes, businesses, and transportation corridors is not a future possibility but an urgent current day reality. Houses in coastal Carolina villages such as Rodanthe, Salvo and Waves are falling into the ocean. The fate of a few are featured in the Island Free Press (https://islandfreepress.org/outer-banks-news/plans-underway-to-remove-the-debris-from-collapsed-rodanthe-house-beach-visitors-advised-to-use-caution/) from Feb 9, 2022. Abandoned structures present an economic loss as well as a huge pollution and debris threat. Residents struggle to deal with exposed septic fields and electric wires as well as spilled toxins and wrecked household goods washing ashore.

Finally, if more domestic oil is really needed in the short term, why ask President Biden to open up more oil leases when there are over 9000 currently approved oil leases on US Government properties (https://www.doi.gov/pressreleases/interior-department-report-finds-significant-shortcomings-oil-and-gas-leasing-programs) that are not being used? There is no reason to believe that approving more oil leases is the answer when petroleum companies are not using all that are currently available to them.

The idea that humans need to be good stewards of the environment by moving away from fossil fuel is not a new, spur of the moment one. Concerned citizens and organizations have been working on saving the planet for future generation for many years. The window of opportunity to secure a stable climate future is closing. And now with the focus on energy independence, this is where the two priorities dove tail together to give Americans a clear path forward.

We urge you to contact your elected leaders, Senators Burr and Tillis and Representative Murphy to let them know North Carolina voters want our energy independence built on clean, renewable energy sources that will give our children and grandchildren a livable climate and safety from energy insecurity.

S.E. McMac

Kill Devil Hills

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