January 25, 2002

Miscellaneous Subjects #123: The Horrific Legacy of Corporate Greed

Hello everyone

Here is another eye-full of information on matters seldom reported in the mainstream media. The Laos war legacy material I found "by chance" on the Net when checking what the movie "Bombies" was all about especially shocked and saddened me deeply, especially considering the fact that the Chief Tormentor of the Planet is still spreading its forever-lethal clusterbombs in Afghanistan - where continued bombing is hardly mentioned any more in the news as you may have noticed. And just to make the point more graphically, I'm including a picture showing the kind of atrocious consequences this truly devilish weapon is still causing in Laos decades after the end of the war. One important thing to remember also is the fact that these weapons are first and foremost built for profit by the corporate establishment (and those hiding behind it!) that has come to dominate so much of our poor planet, an issue I expounded upon in a recent Media Compilation (see below).

Feel free to network!

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator

P.S. Here was my introductory comment to a recent "Media Compilation #42: The Horrendous Cost of War and Corruption" sent on January 18:

Dear journalist

Another story which seems very hard to uncover is the worldwide web of corporate deceit and corruption that has been building up since World War II to make sure plenty of taxpayer money keeps pouring into the ever deepening pockets of a global elitist oligarchy whose dream of world control of everything from the raw materials that drive the world's economic engine to some of the most private aspects of our lives. In fact, this overall theme could define - and actually underpins - 95% of the decisions made by the corrupted politicians whose election has been generously "greased", as exemplified in the Enron/Bush case.

What is at stake is not only our freedom from a global corporate/police state through an ongoing and thoroughly staged "War Against Terrorism" used as a very convenient excuse to prop up and generalize the imposition of draconian, antidemocratic civil control laws and regulations, but also the very survival of a bleeding planet whose every ecological systems are being systematically violated and abused for the sake of ever greater profits for a handful of megalomaniac, filthy rich men.

This is what I'm trying to chronicle in these ongoing Media Compilations in the hope that some journalists, with enough courage and defiance left in them to criticize the very corporate establishment that gives them paid work, will rise to the mighty challenge of making known to a largely hypnotized public what is possibly the only antidote to this global calamity that is slowly driving us all into oblivion: the Truth, the whole Truth and only the Truth.

I pray that there are such journalists left!

CLIP - Read the rest at http://www.cybernaute.com/earthconcert2000/Archives2002/MediaCompilation42.htm

Since then, I've also sent "Media Compilation #43: The Stinking Military Agenda" and "Media Compilation #44: Another Big Blow to the 9-11 Delusion" available through http://www.cybernaute.com/earthconcert2000


2. When War Doesn't End + Bombies - The Film
3. Laos War Legacy - BONES AND BOMBIES
4. Fed up with the Fed
5. Wendy Gramm and Bush officials to Enron fiasco, Calif crisis
6. Kyoto Protest Petition
7. Oppose a new energy legislation that would increase smog, global warming, etc.


Pressure on Cheney to disclose
(...) While Cheney has largely remained out of the public eye since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, he could become the center of the storm when the investigations turn to how Enron's political influence may have been reflected in Bush's energy policy. CLIP

Recuse Me! Congress Bought Off by Enron
As Congress begins to investigate the Enron calamity, you don't have to be Ralph Nader to ask: Who in Congress should disqualify themselves from the hearings? *Plus: "Enron-omics at a Glance."

CHEMTRAILS - Covert Climate Control? by Will Thomas (Nexus Magazine: Oct-Nov 2001)
For nearly three years, chemtrail observers have hoped an official would step forward to explain the origin and purpose of broad white plumes criss-crossing the skies above a dozen allied nations. Their wait is over...

(Note: Soon I'll send you this entire *excellent* article above)


From: Lorinkiely@aol.com
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002

Originally rom: EON <opt2000@veriomail.com>

The multinational corporation is the most powerful institution of our time, dominating not only global economics, but politics and culture as well. The enormous influence of the corporation notwithstanding, the mechanisms of corporate control and the details of corporate abuses remain largely hidden from public perception. The purpose of the column "Focus on the Corporation" is be to rectify this informational shortcoming, to report and comment critically on corporate actions and plans, from particularized abuses to broad trends. Written with a sharp edge and occasional irreverency, the Mokhiber-Weissman column covers:

The double standards which excuse corporations for behavior (e.g., causing injury, accepting welfare) widely considered criminal or shameful when done by individuals;

Globalization and corporate power;

Trends in corporate economic blackmail, political influence and workplace organization;

Industry-wide efforts to escape regulation, silence critics, employ new technologies or consolidate business among a few companies;

Specific, extreme examples of corporate abuses: destruction of communities, trampling of democracy, poisoning of air and water;

Particular issues, such as tort reform, of across-the-board interest to business; and

The corporatization of our culture.

Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman are uniquely well positioned to author such a column. Mokhiber, one of the nation's leading authorities on corporate crime, is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter, a legal weekly, and the author of Corporate Crime and Violence: Big Business Power and the Abuse of the Public Trust. Weissman is the editor of Multinational Monitor, the leading source of critical reporting on corporate power. Mokhiber and Weissman have published articles on corporate power in numerous newspapers, magazines, journals and books.

Find out more at: http://www.corporatepredators.org/


Mary Beth Brangan
James Heddle EON - The Ecological Options Network
"What's Working Where, Worldwide"


From: http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=12165

When War Doesn't End

Tamara Straus, AlterNet
January 7, 2002

There are several disturbing lessons in "Bombies," the forthcoming PBS documentary on cluster bombs in the U.S. covert war in Laos. The first is that the wounds of war don't end with peace treaties in the modern era; they continue in the form of undetonated bombs that cover the former killing fields of the world and, in the case of Laos, have taken the lives of 12,000 civilians in the past three decades.

The second is that military technology which initially appears "smart" often proves to be abysmally stupid. Cluster bombs, developed during the Vietnam War and hailed for their ability to effectively disperse submunitions (surface-delivered "grenades" or air-delivered "bomblets"), may indeed increase the radius of destruction over a target. But they also have a high failure rate and hideous post-war repercussions. Twenty to 30 percent of the 90 million cluster bombs dropped on Laos between 1964 and 1973 failed to explode on impact and now lay dormant, waiting for a child's hand or a farmer's hoe to set them off. The Laotian moniker for these tennis ball-sized destroyers -- "bombies" -- may sound sweet to the American ear, but the weapons are nothing if not proof of man's capacity to do evil.

"Bombies may be the preeminent symbol of humans inhumanity to other humans," says Fred Branfman, a former U.S. government worker in Laos-turned-political activist who appears in Jack Silberman's documentary. "They were designed to destroy not tanks or trucks but to kill people ... and largely civilians."

War is cruel. Untimely death is tragic. When enemy forces face each other on the battlefield or in the skies above, it is difficult to determine which actions are just or lawful. But in the case of the U.S.'s "secret" war in the mist-shrouded mountains and jungles of Laos -- a neutral country according to the U.S.-signed 1962 Geneva Accords -- it is unquestionable that America waged a highly murderous and mostly ineffectual military campaign.

During the nine years that the U.S. attempted to staunch the flow of North Vietnamese people and supplies moving along the Ho Chi Minh Trail and rid the countryside of Communists, American planes dropped more than 500,000 loads of bombs -- the equivalent of a B-52 planeload of bombs every eight minutes. More bombs descended on Laos than on Germany and Japan combined during World War II, making it the most bombed country in history. At least 80 percent of those killed were civilian farmers and villagers. And the U.S. government did this illegally and secretly.

"Everyone talked about Vietnam. Cambodia came under the spotlight. But Laos, it was like it never existed," says Rae McGrath, a bomb demolition expert with the British Army, who received the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize and serves as a key talking head in "Bombies."

"I never saw what the target was. Most of the bombs were just a dump," says Lee Thorn, a former Navy operative who loaded cluster bombs on U.S. planes destined for missions over Laos and, in the film, returns to Laos to deliver medical supplies.

"Bombies" is not soft entertainment. It shows interviews with angry, impoverished Laotian villagers. It follows a seemingly endless trail of brightly-colored unexploded bombs -- a kind of perverse Easter egg hunt -- in bamboo trees, school playgrounds, rice paddies, under houses, everywhere. The film makes clear that ridding Laos of cluster bombs is a Sisyphean task. Even with the help of the Mennonites, who have been working to clear bombs since 1975, and agencies like McGrath's Mines Advisory Group, which helps remove more than 100,000 unexploded ordnances every year, Laos will never be a cluster bomb-free country.

One of the most remarkable images in the documentary is of school children, sitting in rows of little wooden chairs, obediently singing the "bombie song," which has lyrics like "Do not touch them. They are not toys." Of the 500 Laotians killed or maimed each year, 43 percent of those who die and 44 percent of those maimed are children. Another unforgettable image is of villagers eating from pots and using spoons made from scraps of bombies, which are the main source of metal in Laos.

Though "Bombies" boldly illustrates the murderous effects of cluster bombs, and focuses on the difficulty of removing them from Laos, the documentary only tepidly addresses the subject of U.S. responsibility, probably because indictments of American foreign policy pretty much guarantee a no-show on PBS. "Bombies" also fails to mention the two treaties -- the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons -- that could force the U.S. from further production and use of cluster bombs. (The U.S. has not signed the Mine Ban Treaty, which does not cover cluster bombs, but it is a signatory to the Convention on Conventional Weapons, which could be interpreted to cover them.)

What the film does effectively address on the U.S. side, though, is the outing of the war before Congress. We see footage of a very young, fairly sober-looking Ted Kennedy, testifying that the bombing created a half million refugees in Laos. Also shown are rousing speeches by Senator George McGovern and Fred Branfman, the young American who documented the effects of bombing and brought them to the public's attention in 1971.

There is a final message in "Bombies" too, however subtlely put across. It is that the story of cluster bombs in Laos has been replicated across the globe. A new generation of bombies has been used in Kuwait, Iraq, the Falklands, Ethiopia, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Chechnya and Kosovo.

Today, the United States is also using them in Afghanistan, which even before the Oct. 7 military campaign ranked as one of the world's most heavily mined countries. A recent ABC investigation has found that a significant proportion of cluster bombs falling on Afghanistan to not detonate on impact or miss their targets, and that its manufacturers are well aware of this.

"I think one of the lessons from the [Laotian] war," says Dr. Timothy Castle of the U.S. War College in the film, "is that if you try to use bombing, you probably should think about the long-term consequences, because, particularly with bombies, they are physically going to be there long after the war is over."

Based on the U.S.'s unwillingness to sign international weapons treaties or come up with "smarter" technology, it looks like those long-term consequences will forge a black spot of death and destruction well into the 21st century.

For more information on the use of cluster bombs in Afghanistan and elsewhere, go to this backgrounder from Human Rights Watch at http://www.hrw.org/backgrounder/arms/cluster-bck1031.htm

To express your disapproval of the use of cluster bombs and other land mines, go to the Web site of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines at http://www.icbl.org

For showtimes of "Bombies," check listings for your local PBS station.

Tamara Straus is senior editor of AlterNet.org


To order the video of the movie Bombies go at

Bombies: The terrible aftermath of dropping cluster bombs during the secret air war in Laos and the international campaign to ban them.

57 minutes - US Release Date: 2002

Between 1964 and 1973 the United States conducted a secret air war, dropping over 2 million tons of bombs and making tiny Laos the most heavily bombed country in history. Millions of these 'cluster bombs' did not explode when dropped, leaving the country massively contaminated with 'bombies' as dangerous now as when they fell a quarter century ago.

Bombies examines the problem of unexploded cluster bombs through the personal experiences of a group of Laotians and foreigners and argues for their elimination as a weapon of war. Unfortunately they are still a standard part of the US arsenal and were dropped both in Kosovo and now Afghanistan.

"The United States' insistence on the use of cluster bombs, designed to kill or maim humans, is condemned almost universally and brings discredit on our nation. Even for the world's only superpower, the ends don't always justify the means."

- Former President Jimmy Carter

"The most appalling episode of lawless cruelty in American history is the bombing of Laos."

- Anthony Lewis, The New York Times


Bombies - The film

ITVS' web site for the film

Check especially (and see the attached pics taken there)

Cluster bombs are small explosive bomblets carried in a large cannister that opens in mid-air, scattering them over a wide area. The bomblets may be delivered by aircraft, rocket, or by artillery projectiles.

The CBU (cluster bomb unit) 26, which was widely used in Laos, is an anti-personnel fragmentation bomb that consists of a large bombshell holding 670 tennis ball-sized bomblets, each of which contain 300 metal fragments. If all the bomblets detonate, some 200,000 steel fragments will be propelled over an area the size of several football fields, creating a deadly killing zone.

Because the fragments travel at high velocity, when they strike people they set up pressure waves within the body that do horrific damage to soft tissue and organs: even a single fragment hitting somewhere else in the body can rupture the spleen, or cause the intestines to explode. This is not an unfortunate, unintended side-effect; these bombs were designed to do this.

During its wars in Indochina, the U.S. dropped enormous amounts of cluster bombs. A B-52 bomber fitted with two Hayes dispensers could drop 25,000 bomblets on a single bombing run. It's estimated that some 90 million CBU-26 bomblets were dropped on Laos (and the CBU-26 is just one of 12 different kinds of cluster bombs that have been recovered there to date).

Because cluster bombs disperse widely and are difficult to target precisely, they are especially dangerous when used near civilian areas. In addition, they are prone to failure: if the container opens at the wrong height, or the bomblets don't fuse properly, or their descent is broken by trees, or they land on soft ground - they may not detonate. With a high dud rate estimated to be 10 to 30 percent, unexploded cluster bombs lay on the ground becoming, in effect, super landmines, and can explode at the slightest touch. They have proven to be a serious, long-lasting threat, especially to civilians, but also to soldiers, peacekeepers and bomb clearance experts. Children, who are sometimes attracted to the bomblets' bright colors and interesting shapes, represent a high percentage of victims.

Cluster bomblets become less stable - and more dangerous - as time passes. In Laos, nearly every day people are still being killed from bombs dropped 30 years ago. With an estimated 10 million (or more) unexploded cluster bombs, it could be many decades - or even centuries - until the killing is over.

There are many different kinds of cluster bombs. The WDU-4, used in Indochina, contained 6,000 barbed metal darts which were released overhead. Eyewitness accounts tell of the WDU-4 literally nailing people to the ground. The CBU- 41 has bomblets filled with naplam, the CBU-89 disperses mines, and the Honest John carries 368 bomblets filled with sarin nerve gas. The CBU-87, widely used by the U.S. during the Gulf War, the Kosovo War, and the war in Afghanistan, has three kill mechanisms: anti-personnel (for people), anti-armor (for tanks), and incendiary (setting the target area on fire). The B1 bomber can carry enough cluster bombs to turn an area the size of 350 football fields into a killing zone.

The Consequences Wherever they been used - Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Sudan, Lebanon, Iraq, Kuwait, Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Ethiopia, Chechnya, and Afghanistan, unexploded cluster bombs have created problems for civilians:

During the Gulf War over 30 million cluster bomblets were dropped on Kuwait and Iraq and, in the following months, unexploded bombs killed 1,600 civilians and injured another 2,500.

According to a recent study by the Red Cross, children in Kosovo are five times more likely to be killed or injured by a NATO-dropped unexploded cluster bomb than by a Serbian landmine.

Today, in Afghanistan, reports indicate that the U.S. use of cluster bombs is causing the same kinds of tragic consequences for civilians there as they did in other countries. Because cluster bombs are area weapons with a wide dispersal pattern, they kill living things indiscriminately, including civilians. And their high-failure rate means that the killing of innocent people will continue long after the bombs stop dropping.

Cluster Bombs Today Their current use in Afghanistan is helping to focus the world's attention on cluster bombs. Many feel that their impact on civilians is unacceptable and a breach of international humanitarian law. More than 50 international organizations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Mennonite Central Committee, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the International Committee to Ban Landmines have called for a moratorium on cluster bomb use. And, in spite of the fact that cluster bombs are one of the favorite and most deadly weapons in the U.S. and NATO arsenals, on December 13, 2001 the European Parliament passed a resolution calling for an immediate global moratorium on their use to be followed by an outright ban.


From: http://www.mcc.org/clusterbomb/laos_legacy/bones.html


“I know many families have lost children in bombie accidents. Still… it’s so difficult to accept when it happens to your own children,” says Mrs. Tu Va Chao sadly.

On November 22, 1993, the four Tu Va Chao children were walking along a street on the edge of Phonsavanh, Xieng Khouang Province’s capital, taking the water buffalo to pasture. Kou Ya, 4, and Sia Ya, 6, noticed a round object in the ditch.

It looked like the ball boys and girls toss to each other during Hmong New Year festivities. Sia Ya threw it to her brother. He couldn’t catch it and it landed behind him, exploding and killing him instantly. Sia Ya died after two agonizing days and nights in the provincial hospital. A passing cyclist was also wounded.

Mrs. Tu Va Chao lets her husband recount the story. The details are still too painful for her. But later she talks about the children. She remembers how her son, a vivacious child who had the whole family in stitches over his antics, was looking forward to attending nursery school in the fall. She recalls how, just before the accident, her daughter had proudly modeled a new blouse that she planned to wear to school.

Mr. Tu Va Chao too has reflected deeply on the incident and says, “I have recently seen the Americans coming back to Xieng Khouang Province to look for the bones of soldiers who died during the fighting. But the Americans also left bombs here and today many people continue to die.”

“I would like to request that the United States, the United Nations and other organizations think about this problem and try to develop a program to clear bombs from the province. And I also hope some assistance, perhaps material aid or something else, could be given to families like mine that have been affected by bombies.”

Mrs. Tu Va Chao confides that the family still owes money for her daughter’s hospital bills and that Mr. Tu Va Chao is currently jobless.

The Mennonite Central Committee/Mines Advisory Group office, from which the bomb removal project is being coordinated, is near the spot where the Tu Va Chao children discovered the bombie.


Sent by "Donald Stacey" <dstacey@mediaone.net> on January 15

From: http://www.americanfreepress.net/01_14_02/FED_UP_with_the_FED/fed_up_with_the_fed.html

FED UP with the FED

Congress Chastised for Ignoring Watchdog Responsibilities

A panel of experts denounced the Federal Reserve Board for secrecy and Congress for failing to hold it accountable, but their views were ignored by the myopic mainstream media.

Exclusive to American Free Press

By Clayton Potts

Experts chastised the Federal Reserve Board for opera ting in secret, "scandalous" misuse of funds and Congress for abandoning its watchdog responsibilities for a sweetheart role.

But the forum by the Center for the Study of Responsive Law, held Jan. 8 at the National Press Club in Washington, was ignored by the mainstream media. The center is one of Ralph Nader's projects.

Several speakers denounced the Fed for secret meetings with transcripts of the minutes shredded and Congress for holding only sweetheart oversight hearings.

"Fed officials may have skirted or violated the law when they made loans to foreign countries without congressional authorization," said Robert Auerbach, a professor at the University of Texas and former economist with the House Banking Committee.

"Fed officials including Chairman [Alan] Greenspan planned and provided misleading testimony to Congress about the records of their meetings," Auerbach said. The late Rep. Henry Gonzalez (D-Tex.) said in 1993 that Fed officials "planned to deceive and mislead Congress."

"Greenspan's career has been shielded from close scrutiny by an adoring cadre of financial journalists and a Congress that treats [him] more as a deity than a public official," Nader said.

"Members of the Senate and House Banking Committees compete with each other in praising" the Fed and most of their questions are "softballs," Nader said. "Only a handful . . . led often by Bernie Sanders (I-Ver.) can be counted on to challenge the Federal Reserve with anything that resembles a tough question."

When Greenspan was reappointed in 1996, after a General Accounting Office report found waste and abuse at the Fed, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) wanted the Sen ate to debate the issue but was rejected by the leadership.

"Greenspan's cheerleaders in the media started attacking Harkin for insisting on a full debate of the nomination," Nader said. "The Washington Post labeled Harkin an 'obstructionist.' The New York Times blasted Harkin's remarks as 'thoughtless barbs.' And Al Hunt of The Wall Street Journal called Harkin's efforts an 'outrage.' " (All three are Bilderberg-controlled newspapers.)

"The Federal Reserve takes in billions of dollars through the buying and selling of government securities . . . they draw interest from the Treasury on this growing portfolio of government securities, and the Federal Reserve then spends whatever it desires out of these funds and returns the remainder to the Treasury each year," Nader said.

The Fed "draws up its own budget and finances it from its own activities," Nader said. "Congress has no approval or disapproval process for any part of the budget. The budget does not go to the Office of Management and Budget. It is drafted and administered solely by the Fed."

"We're talking personal scandal here," said Jeff Faux, president of the Economic Policy Institute. "We're talking about the scandal of a huge concentration of power beyond the reach of democratic institutions."

Despite the scathing denunciations, the fact that the Fed is a private-not federal-consortium of bankers was unaddressed.


Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2002
From: American Patriot Friends Network <APFN@apfn.org>
Subject: Wendy Gramm and Bush officials to Enron fiasco, Calif crisis

What did the President know, and when did he know it? http://disc.server.com/discussion.cgi?id=149495&article=16285

Wendy Gramm and Bush officials to Enron fiasco, Calif crisis http://disc.server.com/discussion.cgi?id=149495&article=16294

Public Citizen (slittle@citizen.org) Wendy Gramm and Bush officials to Enron fiasco, Calif crisis

Wed Jan 16, 2002

Wendy Gramm and Bush officials to Enron fiasco, California crisis http://www.citizen.org/hot_issues/issue.cfm?ID=194

After Enron Corp. used its vast web of political connections to win December 2000 passage of commodities trading legislation that helped the company shield its energy trading activities from government scrutiny, California's energy crisis suddenly took a dramatic turn for the worse as artificial supply shortages led to frequent rolling blackouts, according to a new Public Citizen report released Friday.

The legislation reducing government oversight of energy trading was muscled through Congress - without a Senate committee hearing - with the aid of U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas. Gramm was chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, which had jurisdiction over the legislation he co-sponsored, but he chose to bypass his committee, and the bill was quietly tacked onto a "must-pass" appropriations bill late in the session. Gramm's wife, Wendy Gramm, also aided Enron's rise to power. As chairwoman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, she pushed through a key regulatory exemption on Jan. 14, 1993, just as she was about to leave office. Five weeks later, she joined Enron's board of directors, where she served on the board's audit committee and had access to key financial information about the company.

To read the entire press release, go at http://www.citizen.org/pressroom/release.cfm?ID=983


From: http://www.campaignagainstclimatechange.net/Petition.html

Kyoto Protest Petition

I believe the revoking of the Kyoto Protocol by President George W. Bush is a shameful and immoral act which puts "special interests" in the U.S. before the rest of the world, especially its poorest and most vulnerable, and gravely damages the long term prospects for everyone on the planet, Americans included.

I would like the government of the United States to return to its commitment to the Kyoto Protocol (and the Rio Earth Summit), to adhere to its letter and spirit and make meaningful reductions in its emissions of greenhouse gases, in line with those that the countries of the European Union have committed themselves. The U.S. has 4% of the world's population but accounts for 24% of its greenhouse gas emissions. I believe that the US should recognise its duty to the rest of the world, match power with responsibility and be a leader in the fight against potentially catastrophic climate change.


Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2002
From: Ariel Gross <agross@webfootgames.com>
Subject: Oppose a new energy legislation that would increase smog, global warming, etc.

Here's some information on how to contact senators regarding a bill that is being passed that will not help (and indeed harm) the environment! Please read it and consider writing at least an email to your senator, if not a hand written letter which tends to be more potent.

Thanks, friends and fam!


From: Kate Abend <sperez@pirg.org>


As you may know, some industries and their allies in the Senate are trying to pass energy legislation that would increase smog, global warming, oil spills and radioactive waste production, while rolling back environmental and public health protections.

America deserves a safe, clean, affordable energy future. That's why we're urging the Senate to reject this dirty energy plan and use America's technological know-how to make our cars, homes and appliances more energy efficient.

Follow the link below to a web page where you can e-mail your senators and ask them to support a 40 mpg fuel economy standard for cars and light trucks.



We cannot end our reliance on unstable oil sources by drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other special places. OPEC holds 77% of the world's oil reserves; the U.S. holds only 3%. To reduce our reliance on foreign oil, we must cut our oil consumption overall. Since transportation accounts for two-thirds of all petroleum use, the best way to reduce our dependence on oil is to make vehicles go farther on a gallon of gas. Miles-per-gallon standards enacted in 1975 doubled the fuel economy of American passenger cars and save the U.S. 2.8 million barrels of oil per day. Unfortunately, fuel economy has dropped 7% since 1987 as more Americans buy SUVs and other light trucks, which are allowed to meet lower miles-per-gallon standards than cars.

According to an analysis by the National Academy of Sciences, America has the technology right now to meet a fleet wide fuel economy standard of 40 mpg. Cars, SUVs and other light trucks now consume 8 million barrels of oil every day. Raising fuel economy standards for new cars, SUVs, and other light trucks to an average of 40 miles per gallon over the next 10 years would save nearly 2 million barrels of oil every day by 2012 and 4 million barrels every day by 2020. Four million barrels is more than current Persian Gulf imports and the projected yield from the Arctic Refuge combined. By 2012, the 40 mpg standard would also save consumers $16 billion at the gas pump, create more than 40,000 jobs in the auto industry, and cut global warming pollution from passenger vehicles by 20%.

Unfortunately, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a sham provision that amounts to only a 1 mpg increase in light truck fuel economy. In the next few weeks, the Senate will craft a fuel economy provision for their version of the energy bill. Please help us achieve a smarter, cleaner energy future for America by asking your senators to support a fleet wide auto fuel economy standard of 40 mpg.

Follow the link below to a web page where you can e-mail your senators.



Kate Abend
State PIRGs Global Warming Associate