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More on Enviro vs. National Security

I have an article up today about how member groups of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs are debating the exact language of a proposed resolution in support of reducing America’s dependence on oil: Some would like to see more of a focus on the environment and global warming, while others are more focused on national security, and open to possibility of new domestic drilling or nuclear power.

Here’s some further evidence of the tension: Both the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and Hillel have committed to make their upcoming conferences “carbon neutral” by offsetting the carbon dioxide emissions related to the events. In contrast, when the American Jewish Committee’s executive director, David Harris, recently imagined a speech he wished had been given by President Bush in 2001, he focused on energy independence, rather than global warming.

With the help of Carbonfund.org, the JCPA and Hillel plan to offset any emissions produced by travel to their upcoming events as well as use of the hotel by making donations for reforestation projects in Israel, as well as alternative energy projects.

(JCPA will hold its annual plenum February 25-27 in Washington, D.C., with the Hillel Spitzer Forum on Social Justice running concurrently.)

David Harris published the “missing” 2001 speech in the November/December issue of Congress Monthly. He called for energy independence through environmental measures like conservation and increased efficiency, but also encouraged “freeing up states to permit offshore drilling.”

“All sides in the debate on energy will have to give in,” Harris wrote. “National interests must trump short-sighted narrow interests.”

It’s not the AJCommittee is shunning the environmental track – in fact, the group has recently announced a project to green its national headquarters – but on the level of national policy, the AJCommittee is willing to trade some additional fossil fuel pollution for added energy independence. In contrast, groups like Hadassah are concerned about any U.S. policy that would increase global warming.

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