Taylor town hall to address oil addiction and global warming

With gas prices rising and our energy future hanging in the balance, a town hall-style meeting in Taylor will give area residents a chance to find answers to questions about what can be done to secure our economy, national security and environment.

The “Re-Energize America” town hall meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 16, at at St. Paul United Church of Christ, 24158 Goddard Road.

R. James Woolsey, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and a distinguished panel of speakers from the faith, government and conservation communities will gather to discuss the many available solutions that could help to end America’s oil addiction while, at the same time, stop global warming pollution. The event is open to the public.

Other participants include Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches; Michigan Senator Raymond E. Basham of Taylor; and Lana Pollack, president of the Michigan Environment Council. The panel will be moderated by Dr. Orin Gelderloos, professor of biology and environmental studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Bob Mach, superintendent of vehicle maintenance and compost at the City of Taylor Department of Public Works, also will participate. Mach is credited with bringing alternative fuels to Taylor, which is the leading municipality in Michigan in the use of alternative fuel vehicles.

Similar “Re-Energize America” town hall meetings, also organized by the Natural Resources Defense Council, have been held over the past year in Omaha, Nebraska; Des Moines, Iowa; Orlando and Miami, Florida; and Waukegan, Illinois.

The gatherings – and the diversity of participating speakers – underscore the growing grassroots support for “Re-Energize America,” a nonpartisan campaign that seeks to take on the twin challenges of oil dependency and global warming and create a new energy future for America. (www.ReEnergizeAmerica.org)

Michigan and the New Energy Revolution

Panelists at the town hall will discuss solutions to America’s oil problems that are both cleaner and cheaper than oil, but also attainable through existing technologies. Michigan is home to several industries that are producing these technologies to reduce global warming pollution and promote economic growth.

“We should develop a portfolio of approaches to breaking oil’s strategic hold on us, building on existing transportation capabilities wherever possible and keeping in mind cost, carbon emissions and national security,” Woolsey said. “America should seek solutions that promote economic well-being and address global warming pollution and national security concerns.”

Edgar emphasizes that the issues at hand are moral problems: “We are called by our faith to serve and protect God's creation. The health and well being of too many people, including our children, is at stake for global warming to be merely a political or even just an environmental issue.”

Basham, who represents District 8, acknowledges challenges faced by his constituency with skyrocketing gas prices and growing threats to our natural heritage of forests and waters.

“Michigan is all too familiar with the consequences of global warming,” he said, “but we are also in a unique position as a state to address this issue in a way that improves our environment and our economy, especially in the automotive and agricultural sectors. Michigan has the industry, brains, and workforce to lead the world in the design and production of cars and alternative fuels that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

Pollack emphasizes the need for urgent political action in addressing global warming.

"The scientific debate on global warming is over,” she said. “The critical question that remains is whether we have the political will to avert the worst consequences of this global threat."

Re-Energize America calls for reducing dependence on oil, cutting global warming pollution by relying on cleaner, more efficient technologies such as hybrid systems in our cars and trucks, and new biofuels made from crops grown by America’s farmers. And, if combined with stronger fuel-economy performance standards and smart-growth policies, fuels produced from switchgrass, woodchips and cornstalks could help virtually erase demand for gasoline by mid-century.

Re-energize America is a diverse and growing coalition of concerned individuals and organizations that together reflect the fast-emerging national consensus that America must reduce both its oil dependence and global warming pollution. According to Re-energize America, the best way to do that is to harness clean, renewable energy sources and to improve the energy efficiency of vehicles, buildings and industry. By expanding our energy choices we stimulate innovation, create jobs, strengthen our national security and stop global warming. To learn more, go to www.ReenergizeAmerica.org.

Every Re-energize Town hall event is carbon-neutral. Through the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, the NRDC buys green tags to offset carbon emissions from energy consumption during each event and from transportation for all speakers.

Speaker Bios:

Reverend Doctor Bob Edgar

Dr. Bob Edgar is general secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, the leading U.S. organization in the movement for Christian unity. Thirty-five Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, historically African-American and peace communions, to which approximately 45 million congregants belong, work together in the Council to promote unity and to serve churches and people worldwide.

Dr. Edgar took office January 1, 2000, at a time of great opportunity, as the 50-year-old Council began to reshape its life and mission. Under his leadership, the Council is focusing its energies on major initiatives in the areas of overcoming poverty, protecting the environment, fostering interfaith understanding, and building international peace.

An ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, Dr. Edgar came to the Council from Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, Calif., where he was president from 1990-2000. During that decade, he brought a school on the brink of collapse back to institutional health, confirming his reputation as an optimist, a futurist, and a coalition builder who enjoys meeting a challenge.

Dr. Edgar is well known for his service as a six-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives, where he was the first Democrat in more than 120 years to be elected from the heavily Republican Seventh District of Pennsylvania. His election and service demonstrated the bipartisan, ecumenical quality that has marked his whole life and ministry.

Serving in Congress from 1974 to 1987, he led efforts to improve public transportation, authored the community Right to Know provisions of Super Fund legislation, co-authored the new GI bill for the all-volunteer service, fought wasteful water projects and supported environmental goals. Among other appointments, he served as chair of the Congressional Clearinghouse on the Future (1982-86) and as a member of the Select Committee on Assassinations (1976-78) that investigated the deaths of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and President John F. Kennedy. In 1987, true to his belief in term limits, he voluntarily stepped down from office.

His wide-ranging career has also included pastorates at United Methodist congregations and stints as a teacher, college chaplain, community organizer, and director of a “think tank” on national security issues.

An active volunteer, Dr. Edgar serves on the boards of several organizations, including Independent Sector, the National Coalition for Health Care, Common Cause, and the National Religious Partnership for the Environment. He serves on the board of directors of the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, an independent, non-profit organization that is a principal resource for Congress on environmental and energy issues.

Dr. Edgar received a bachelor of arts degree from Lycoming College, Williamsport, Pa., and a master of divinity degree from the Theological School of Drew University, Madison, N.J. He holds four honorary doctoral degrees.

Many national organizations have recognized his work with awards, including the American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America and the National Taxpayers Union.

Lana Pollack

Michigan Environmental Council President Lana Pollack grew up in Ludington, Michigan, and attended the University of Michigan, where she earned a B.A. in Political Science and an M.A. in Education. In 1997, she was a Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

The Senate’s only Democratic woman for eight years, Pollack became a leading advocate for the environment, children and women’s rights. She also earned praise as the architect of Michigan’s landmark 1990 polluter pay statute which, before it was repealed in 1995, saved taxpayers $100 million by forcing polluters to pay for the cleanup of toxic waste. Pollack also established statewide coalitions to prevent gun violence and teenage pregnancy.

More recently she has taught at the University of Michigan and served on the boards of directors of national, state and local nonprofit organizations. In 2002 Pollack was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame and in 2005 Governor Granholm appointed her to the Natural Resources Trust Fund Board.

Lana Pollack has been a student of music throughout her life. She is married to Henry Pollack, a Professor of Geophysics at the University of Michigan, and they are the parents of an adult son, John, a writer.

Senator Raymond E. Basham, District 8

Raymond Basham has lived in Taylor for the past 34 years. Raymond and his wife Iva have two children: Brian, age thirty-eight and Tracy, age thirty-one; and four grandchildren.
• Born: 5/24/45 Roanoke, VA
• Elected State Senator in November 2002; re-elected 2006.
• Elected State Representative in a special election in June 1997; re-elected 1998, 2000.
• Elected to the Taylor City Council, 1989-1997.
• Served on the Taylor Planning Commission, 1993-1997.
• Appointed Constable in Taylor, 1985; elected 1987-1989.
• Appointed Water Commission in Taylor, 1984-1985.
• Served as an Auxiliary Police Officer, 1979-1984.
• Veteran of the U.S. Air Force, 1962-66.
• Employed by Ford Motor Company for 28 years, 1969-1997.
• Appointed as an Employee Support Services Representative for the United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 245, 1985-1997.
• Elected as a Bargaining Committee Person for UAW Local 245, 1976-1995.
• Elected as a Committee Person At-Large for UAW Local 245, 1975.
• Elected as an Education Committee Person and/or served as a part-time Committee Person, 1972-1975.
• Taken numerous courses in the Humanities at Wayne State University, Western Michigan University, Schoolcraft College and Wayne County Community College.
Memberships: Michigan Democratic Party, 15th District Democratic Organization, Democratic Club of Taylor, the Wolverine Masonic Lodge (Past Master) and Former Member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Committee Assignments: Local, Urban and State Affairs; Senior Citizens and Veterans Affairs; Natural Resources and Environment Affairs (Minority Vice-Chair), and Transportation (Minority Vice-Chair).

Dr. Robert James Woolsey

R. James Woolsey joined FDD in August, 2002, as a Distinguished Advisor. Previously Mr. Woolsey was a partner at the law firm of Shea & Gardner in Washington, D.C., where he practiced for twenty-two years, on four occasions, beginning in 1973; his practice was in the fields of civil litigation, alternative dispute resolution, and corporate transactions.

During the 12 years he has served in the U.S. government, Mr. Woolsey has held Presidential appointments in two Democratic and two Republican administrations. He was Director of Central Intelligence in 1993-95. He also served as: Ambassador to the Negotiation on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), Vienna, 1989-1991; Under Secretary of the Navy, 1977-1979; and General Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services, 1970-73. He was appointed by the President as Delegate at Large to the U.S.-Soviet Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) and Nuclear and Space Arms Talks (NST), and served in that capacity on a part-time basis in Geneva, 1983-1986. As an officer in the U.S. Army he was an adviser on the U.S. Delegation to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I), Helsinki and Vienna, 1969-1970.

Mr. Woolsey has been a Director or Trustee of numerous civic organizations, including The Smithsonian Institution, where he was Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of Regents, Stanford University, The Goldwater Scholarship Foundation, and The Aerospace Corporation. He has been a member of: The National Commission on Terrorism, 1999-2000; The Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the U.S. (Rumsfeld Commission), 1998; The President's Commission on Federal Ethics Law Reform, 1989; The President's Blue Ribbon Commission on Defense Management (Packard Commission), 1985-1986; and The President's Commission on Strategic Forces (Scowcroft Commission), 1983. He is currently a Trustee of The Center for Strategic & International Studies; Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Clean Fuels Foundation; and Vice Chairman of the Advisory Board of Global Options LLC.

Mr. Woolsey is presently a member of the Board of Directors or Board of Managers of: Information Systems Laboratories, Inc. (ISL); Linsang Partners, LLC; Fibersense Technology Corporation; Invicta Networks, Inc.; DIANA, LLC; and Agorics, Inc. He has served in the past as a member of the Boards of Directors of: BC International Corporation; Sun HealthCare Group, Inc.; USF&G; Yurie Systems, Inc.; Martin Marietta; British Aerospace, Inc.; Fairchild Industries; Titan Corporation; and DynCorp, and as a member of the Board of Governors of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange.

Mr. Woolsey was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1941. He is married to Suzanne Haley Woolsey, the Chief Communications Officer of the National Academies (Science, Engineering, and Medicine) and they have three sons: Robert, Daniel, and Benjamin. Mr. Woolsey attended Tulsa public schools, graduating from Tulsa Central High School in 1959. He received his B.A. Degree in 1963 from Stanford University (With Great Distinction, Phi Beta Kappa), an M.A. from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar 1963-65, and an LL.B from Yale Law School in 1968, where he was Managing Editor of the Yale Law Journal.

Mr. Woolsey is Vice President of the Global Strategic Security Division at Booz, Allen, & Hamilton. He is a frequent contributor to major publications, and from time to time gives public speeches, on the subjects of foreign affairs, defense, energy, and intelligence.