Message To President-Elect Obama

The following is a guest editorial from Porter Robert Peoples, Ph.D., director of the ACS Green Chemistry Institute: As you begin working on the challenges facing our nation, I encourage you to engage the expertise of the scientific community—men and women who are immersed in many of the issues that carried you to the White House. They have hands-on experience, knowledge, and research-backed opinions about the environment, health care, and education. These are core issues that impact our quality of life and national security, and they are tied to other drivers including the economy and energy, which form the very essence of a sustainable future for our nation. Americans are optimistic about the future. Although we face enormous and complex global challenges, we have the resolve, resources, and initiative to make changes in how we go forward. The American Chemical Society, with its 160,000 members, is a resource that brings together the best scientific minds of the world. These brilliant men and women are at universities, research institutes, and large and small businesses, as well as in government and nonprofit organizations. They are working to change how we utilize our environmental resources without disturbing the balance of nature, how we develop new drugs, and how we can minimize our environmental footprint. Chemists and chemical engineers are working on the next generation of products to enhance and contribute to a better life. The ACS Green Chemistry Institute goes a step further in recognizing that the products of the future must be environmentally friendly as well as sustainable. Chemists hold the key to unlock the door to the chemistry of nature based on the founding principles of green chemistry and engineering. Sustainability is not just a buzzword for your Administration; it is the future economic driving force for our nation. It means new jobs, new products, new manufacturing opportunities, and new educational options for young people. Sustainability means meeting the needs of today without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs, and it is now being discussed in practically every business model. Your Administration can provide incentives and encouragement to continue and enhance these efforts. Green chemistry is defined as doing chemistry the way nature does chemistry. These are principles that future scientists need to adhere to. Your Administration can highlight important accomplishments in green chemistry. Young minds with a scientific inclination should be encouraged to further their education and work on the issues that will make a contribution to humankind. The federal government, along with the private sector, should play a role in making these goals a reality. The ACS Green Chemistry Institute is one catalyst to push the green movement to new heights and to help businesses recognize that not only does it not cost more to be green, but rather there can be a very good return on their investment. Scientists also have a responsibility to share information with the public and not just within their scientific community. From my own experience in academia and industry, I know that scientists are not always the best communicators, but it is important to inform nonscientists about the possibilities that come from scientific research. Your Administration can play an active role in making sure that everyone is talking, collaborating, sharing, and advancing green chemistry goals. These include immediate funding of the America Competes Act, passed by Congress but not yet funded, and the Green Chemistry Research & Development Act. Both acts can provide significant new funding to facilitate research at our academic institutions and can stimulate and encourage our leading corporations to invest in new sustainable technologies. We cannot afford to let perfect get in the way of good. Let's continue the journey toward true sustainability and modify our path forward when we recognize the need for course corrections. You will be amazed at the progress made by those who have dedicated their lives to scientific advancement. We stand ready to help your Administration make a difference. Porter Robert Peoples Director, ACS Green Chemistry Institute

Author: Rachel Pepling

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3 Comments

  1. The only way to rebuild this economy is one person at a time. We need to help small groups in towns throughout the US, to pool their moneys to help local businesses get started or expand. We cannot wait on the Fed. Just as some ethnic groups or family groups back each other and pool their resources. We need to initiate this same philosophy throughou our country.
    A perfect person to advise on matters of this nature is a woman by the name of Catherine Austin Fitts. She has thought about this problem and has some very good advise on these issues.
    This kind of system is what this coutry was based on and it can work again.
    Centralized government is the last thing we need.

  2. One of the ways to help jump start the economy is to aid the Gruman Corp. build a trans continental magnetic glide monorail system. Japan, and Germany are working on their third generation mag-lev systems. The train they are working on now will be able to sruise at 335mph all on electric magnetic glide rails. Helping Gruman or general dynamics develop such a project will put people to work all accross the country. The govt. can offer tax breaks, assist in right of ways, and assist in selling land to help the project. Stipulations must include using ONLY american made parts, american based, companies, contractors,labor,etc. with absolutely nothing purchassedfrom foreign companies. We have the brain power to build better equipment lets use it. Lease and retro fit the empty auto assembly plants. Put some of those folks back to work building this project. Imagine, opening up the entire country to high speed travel and NOT burning fossil fuels. People in every state will be put to work building this system. Parking lots, train platforms. construction of the actual rail lines , handicapped facilities, etc..
    Also, bailing out the former big three auto makers is throwing good money away. This is America if one company fails another will come in scoop up it’s assets at a deep discount and start to build a new better mousetrap.There is no reason in the world why Germany and Japan should be building better products than America. Weather it is autos, electronics, appliances or anything else our ingenuity, and drive is better than anywhere else on earth. Thank you.

  3. Michael, Germany was ready to move forward with their Maglev project and dropped it last April. They even had a sample train/guideway (about 200 feet) built at the Munich airport. I’m not sure maglev is right for every environment – it’s more suited for very urban environments with lots of curves and steep grades, and it’s phenomenally more expensive than a steel rail system such as the TGV/Thalys/ICE/Eurostar/etc. As a giant supporter of high speed rail systems and former board member of the Arizona Rail Passenger Association, I also believe in the idea of high speed rail systems.

    Here’s an email I recently sent to form a high speed rail authority in Arizona:

    I’m not sure how to go about this but I want to form a High Speed Rail Authority/Commission for Arizona, to build a high speed train connecting Metro Phoenix to Los Angeles. As you may or may not know, California voters just approved Proposition 1A to connect Sacramento and San Francisco with Los Angeles and San Diego. As may also know, President-Elect Obama is a huge supporter of modernizing our transportation infrastructure by developing a high speed rail infrastructure for the United States.

    This system would travel along already existing and abandoned rail lines from Phoenix to Yuma, then along rural areas until connecting with the California High Speed Rail system in Riverside, California. The Arizona portion would be a breeze to construct, and traveling to Los Angeles on a 225mph high speed train would take just over 2 hours and cost about $50-60 each way… faster and less expensive than flying door-to-door.

    High Speed Rail systems further help revitalize downtown areas, the trains are faster, cheaper, more convenient, less noisy and less polluting than flying. Such a rail line would extend the capacity of Sky Harbor International Airport by at least 50-75 years by moving a lot of the current Phoenix to LA-area (LAX, Orange County, Long Beach, Ontario, Burbank, Palm Springs, Indio) air traffic to trains. At night, the trains can be used to move goods from Arizona to California – be it from warehouses in West Phoenix to the farms along I-8 and in the Imperial Valley. This would also significantly reduce traffic – both auto and freight truck – on I-10 and I-8, greatly extending the life of these roadways without multi-billion expansion from 4 to 6 lanes in the not-too-distant future. The system would be a giant boost to alternative energy, as it could be powered by solar energy in Arizona and solar/wind energy in California.

    Job creation would be in the neighborhood of 150,000 new jobs over the course of the project…. this is just a guess based upon the estimate of 450,000 new jobs by the California High Speed Rail Authority for their project, which is much larger. Much of the funds would come from the federal government and the remainder could be floated as bonds… in Europe and Asia all high speed rail lines are profitable, so this would not require continued government subsidies to operate and maintain. Future expansions of the system would travel to Tucson and possibly even to Nogales and Sonora, Mexico to bring goods to Phoenix.

    My qualifications: worked for ValTrans in the 1980s, worked on the general plan development for City of Phoenix in the 1980s, was a board member for Arizona Rail Passenger Association in the 1990s, was appointed by you to as the District 5 County Transportation Oversight Committee in the 1990s, named the Metro Rail system a few years ago, was Vice-Chair of the Central City Village Planning Committee in the 2000s, etc., etc. I’m experienced in taking on projects with public/private investment, if my hotel project counts.

    Is there any way to have a commission formed before the Governor leaves office? This would mean a lot for the Arizona economy and environment.

    Thanks/Ben