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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Letter To Mark Sanford

Peter Silveston
51 Crested Flycatcher Lane
Kiawah Island, SC  29455

Congressman Mark Sanford                                            51 Crested Flycatcher Lane
322 Cannon House Office Building                                 Kiawah Island, SC, 29455
Washington, DC , 20515
                                                                                                August 19th, 2013

Dear Congressman Sanford,

I am disappointed that your staff has been unable to arrange a meeting between you and the Executive Committee of the Robert Lunz Group of the South Carolina Sierra Club Chapter before I leave on a trip out west. I hope that a meeting can be arranged during a later visit to your constituency. This letter is a poor substitute for such a meeting.
 My intent in this letter is to set out the position of the local Sierra Club group on conservation and energy policy issues facing South Carolina’s 1st Congressional  District.
On Conservation:
1)    We wish to see legislation protecting public land, such as Parks, Monuments and National Forests. Namely that there should be no net encroachment of such property. Diversion of any such land in the public interest must be replaced by equal or greater replacement in a contiguous way (sSimilar to regulations now governing wet lands).
2)    Federal funding of agencies charged with protecting and administering public lands ( as numerated above) should be protected in deficit reduction actions of the government in as much asso that agency budgets are reduced to no greater extent than the average reduction and certainly no more than the budgets of the military forces.
3)    We wish to see lLegislation protecting environmentally sensitive land from commercial development, or at least, a prohibition of the use of public money to restore such land after environmental catastrophes, such as a hurricane. I refer specifically to the proposed development of Capt’n Sam’s Spit on Kiawah Island and the recent landfill operations at Wild Dunes on the Isle of Palms.
4)    We support a Ffederal grant or perhaps a loan for the purpose of creating a park on properties surrounding Angel Oak on Johns Island.
5)    We are also concerned about littering and waste dumping on public land, such as in the Francis Marion National Forest or , indeed, on our highways, but we have no ideas of what federal action might be undertaken to eliminate this problem.
On Energy Policy Issues:
1)    We fully endorse the National Sierra Club position that that global warming is a paramount national problem and that vigorous federal action is necessary. The issue is particularly important for the 1st Congressional District. The mean annual sea level has already risen by over an inch in the last decade. Although this is negligible with respect to daily life and commerce, it has a large impact on property and perhaps life during storm events.
2)    To limit global warming, the federal government should promote the adoption of practical renewable energy, such as solar energy, wind power, use of agricultural and forest wastes, while discouraging employment of fossil fuels.
3)    To enact 2) above:
a)    End federal subsidies of all types to the giant and wealthy oil corporations.
b)    Enact a carbon tax on automotive as well as power sales of oil and coal products
c)    Enact or aurthorize EPA to set and enforce emission standards on mercury, sulfur dioxide and other toxics in power plant stack emissions
d)    Require Federal review of fracking proposals to limit water and air pollution by those operations.
4)    Further to 2) above
a)    Legislate the construction and finance of a national electric power grid to move power across the country so as to balance generation capacity and power demand (This could be modeled after the National Highway system created in the 1960”s). Such a grid is essential in order to exploit intermittent power sources.
b)    Enact legislation that will allow public and private property owners to rent out space or rent solar collectors and require utilities to buy such power for distribution to its customers. Such legislation should include allowing utilities to charge a standby charge on power supplied to a local solar generator. There is currently a problem in South. Carolina where utilities have a power supply monopoly in areas they serve.
c)    Continue tax breaks for capital expenditures on solar energy capture and other power conservation expenditures
d)    Enact a program of federal guaranteed low interest rate loans for construction of wind turbine farms and for bringing power on shore in the case of “farms” off the Carolina coast.
The Sierra Club has supported you in several of your past political campaigns, so you are well aware of our influence on your constituents. The Lunz Group of the South Carolina Sierra Club Chapter has close to 1,000 members and our positions are often adopted by young people and college graduates in our area.
As Political Chair for the Lunz Group, I receive the “Project Vote Smart” record of congressional votes and speeches which I report on to the Group Executive. Of course, I want to receive your newsletter and other reports that your office issues.


Peter Silveston

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