Chattanoogan: Senator Alexander Understands What The People Of Tennessee Need - And Response

Posted on March 27, 2019

Chattanoogan: Senator Alexander Understands What The People Of Tennessee Need - And Response

Letters to the Editor By: Brent Morris and John Hodge

On Tuesday, Senator Alexander proposed the New Manhattan Project for Clean Energy, a five-year plan to curb climate change and foster energy investment. Senator Alexander is right to be concerned about climate change, and we appreciate his calls for advancement in energy storage, electric vehicles, energy-efficient buildings and solar energy that will reduce pollution and promote solutions. Climate change threatens the health of all Tennesseans, and in Hamilton County, we are already feeling these impacts.

As climate change worsens, many types of extreme weather events, like flooding, are becoming more frequent and intense. In February, Chattanooga saw record-breaking rainfall with flooding of roadways and major river flooding concerns. This follows the trends in 2018, which was the wettest year on record for the Tennessee River Valley with a total of 67.01 inches of rain. Not only does flooding put lives at immediate risk, cleaning up afterwards presents additional health hazards.

Our changing climate is also is making heat waves more frequent and intense, making the presence of ground-level ozone pollution more likely. This is especially concerning for Chattanooga since the mountains can trap air pollution and can harm our health. As a pediatrician in Chattanooga, I understand the importance of healthy air for my patients. In Hamilton County, there are more than 7,000 children with asthma, who are at greater risk from the impacts of air pollutants like ozone. Not only is air pollution linked to asthma attacks in children and adults, it can trigger heart attacks, cause reproductive harm, and can result in early death.

It’s important our elected officials take climate change seriously, defend policies that will protect our health, and work together to move solutions forward that will curb the dangerous threats posed by climate change. The longer the Administration and Congress delay action to clean up our air and address climate change, the more Tennesseans will suffer.

Brent Morris

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Mr. Morris, it is clear that you and I are on completely opposites sides of the political spectrum on this issue and probably many others. I don't believe that climate change is a man-made phenomenon, nor do I think that implementing policies such as the green new deal or banning plastic straws will do anything other than wreak havoc on our economy.

With that said, I'm not writing to argue with you on this issue. You will not change my mind and I doubt that I will change yours.  What I do wish is that people would stop pushing clean, renewable energy policy in the cloak of the doom and gloom climate change fantasy. There are lots of people who don't buy into the man-made climate change ideology. Why is it necessary that we must believe in and take climate change seriously in order to care about our environment and clean renewable energy?

Instead, I wish that politics could be removed from the equation and focus on practical and positive initiatives. I for one, am actually in favor of clean renewable energy production. What I don't believe in is destroying our current infrastructure in order to achieve an ideological goal as some of our politicians are pushing.

You believe in renewable energy policy because you are concerned about climate change. I believe in renewable energy because I believe it makes us stronger as a nation, less dependent on energy sources from other parts of the world and, as a side benefit, it leaves our environment a cleaner place for us, our children and future generations. There is common ground here if our politicians can stop with the theatrics and get on with the business of doing what is right for our country.

Unfortunately, I think that this as so many other issues have been so politicized, it will be almost impossible to get anything substantive accomplished.

John Hodge