"Green Living is a Necessity, Not a Luxury"
More than 30 new Element hotels are to be built. Here's a look inside the first.
A scene in North Carolina, sometime in the near future.
furtively from side to side, the climatology graduate student spotted a
phone booth outside a convenience store, one of the few remaining pay
phones in the county. Dashing inside, she inserted a few quarters and
dialed the number at the secret lab.
The phone rang several
times, then a man on the other end picked up. He recited an old song
lyric: "Let's go surfing now, everybody's learning how, come on and
safari with me."
Recognizing the pass phrase, the graduate
student replied by reciting the countersign, another old song lyric:
"It's getting bigger every day. From Hawaii to the shores of Peru."
she was talking on a secure line, the student shot another quick glance
outside the phone booth, then spoke quickly to the man: "OK, professor,
I ran the numbers again on your climatology model. The sea level rise
projected for 2100 is looking really serious."
One of the more commonly heard bumper-sticker slogans that passes for
discourse on Capitol Hill these days is that "government shouldn't pick
winners" when it comes to supporting energy R&D.
Baloney, Norman Augustine, a retired Lockheed Martin CEO, said in so
many words at a May 22 Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
hearing that explored energy technology innovation. Augustine, member of
a high-powered business group advocating greater federal support for
energy R&D, said "in the real world, government does and has to pick
winners and losers every day."
And has since the earliest days of the republic. In helping to transform
the U.S. economy from a rural backwater into an industrial civilization
that has provided material abundance and a quality of life few would
willingly give up, the federal government has picked winners in ordering
the country's fiscal and monetary affairs, developing infrastructure,
and supporting high-risk technology research.
Forty-seven lawmakers from across the spectrum are trying to accomplish a
task that once was normal but lately has been a struggle: securing a
bipartisan agreement on a transportation bill to authorize funding for
roads, bridges, and transit systems.
The 47 senators and House members sit on a conference committee trying
to harmonize the sharply different transportation bills the Senate and
House passed earlier this year.
There's a nugget of gold amidst the political dross. Tucked into the
Senate bill is a pro-conservation provision with a fighting chance of
winning bipartisan acceptance: $700 million for the Land and Water
Conservation Fund in each of the next two fiscal years. The Senate added
the provision to its transportation bill in an impressive 76-22 vote.
Now, several House Republicans are circulating a letter to Speaker John
Boehner asking him to support inclusion of the Senate language in the
final transportation bill.