Resident Shirl Lamonna spoke at the last Oro Valley Town Council meeting regarding the proposed energy amendment to the General Plan. Her remarks were heard by Council and the few who remained in the room at 11:30 that night. We felt her remarks deserved the "light of day."
What do a rancher, governor, poultry producer, gas station manager and restaurant owner all have in common? Certainly not much in their daily lives – but they’ve all come together to petition the EPA to waive the ethanol requirement that diverts corn from food to an inefficient fuel and directly affects the price of food in grocery stores and restaurants due to this summer’s drought.
Yes. This mandate has created winners and losers, and the aforementioned group falls into the losing category: the ranchers who don’t have food for their livestock; the convenience stores faced with exiting the business or investing hundreds of thousands of dollars to retrofit fueling equipment; the poultry producers who have to pay exorbitant prices to meet their corn needs; the restaurants that each must pay $18K more annually due to higher food prices; and all of us who have to pay more for the foods we consume.
I share this as a perfect example of the "law of unintended consequences" – where the actions of people and government always have effects that are unanticipated or unintended.
And that’s my fear with the proposed energy amendment to the general plan. Oh it sounds good. Who doesn’t want to save energy and protect the environment for future generations? But why do this now when it’s not required for a town of our size; when the politics and corruption of climate science has been revealed in 129 different scandals? When the AZ legislature is likely to pass a bill prohibiting the implementation of such requirements?
We’ve been told that this plan is voluntary, not mandatory. I’m a bit skeptical on that. In order to meet goals, the town will have to tap into energy savings in the 2 biggest usage groups: residential and transportation. This will be accomplished thru supporting regional and state programs and the adoption of the International Energy Conservation Code which places strict regulations not only on new construction but also on alterations, renovations and remodels of residential housing. Please don’t misunderstand: There is nothing wrong with all this if you want it, but everything is wrong if you don’t.
Where’s our freedom of choice?
Shouldn’t we have the right to choose to live in an apartment or a single family home with a yard?
Shouldn’t we have the right to choose how we face our house on our lot and whether to purchase solar with its lengthy payback period and how high to set our thermostats for heat or air?
Shouldn’t we be able to use standard lightbulbs and protect ourselves from the hazards of breaking CFL bulbs containing mercury?
Shouldn’t we be able to say "no" to Smart meters given the World Health Organization’s classification of them as a carcinogen on par with lead and DDT?
Shouldn’t we be able to plant trees in our yard for privacy?
Shouldn’t we be able to choose the type of covers and heaters for our pools?
Shouldn’t we consider whether white roofs are really a good idea for the desert given the Stanford Study which found that reflecting sunlight back into space could prevent cloud formation and therefore cause higher overall temperatures or reduce rainfall?
And shouldn’t we be able to choose the type of car we drive? How many of the mere 55,000 electric cars sold nationwide in the last 3 yrs can possibly be in Oro Valley. So, why are we investing in more battery charging stations?
Clearly, the addition of this energy amendment to our general plan has the potential for unintended consequences on Oro Valley residents and businesses at a time when the economy is already suffering. Is that what you want for our Oro Valley?