portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article questions oregon & cascadia

energy & nuclear | sustainability

Is the Apollo Initiative a Salvageable Project?

So, there has been a recent, and important debate regarding the nature and viability of the Apollo initiative, whether it will really benefit Oregon, or the environment for that matter. This topic is to be devoted to finding an agreeable stance on it.
I won't mince words. As I've shown on this site, I've defended the Apollo initiative, probably a bit more zealously than I should have, given I hadn't studied its originators so in-depth at the time. However, despite its dubious progenitors, I still see it as a use, if for nothing else than to switch our existing energy sources to renewable energy. The project would appear to have a great and many serious flaws in it, but the value, that of at least getting rid of entirely dirtying power plants. A recent article in the Eugene Weekly ( http://www.eugeneweekly.com/2006/03/09/views2.html) by the author of OilEmpire raises some good points, however, and the thought of multi-nationals and institutionalized NGOs being involved at all with our energy sources is dangerous at best. So my questions are this: To what end should we go forth with this project? I have a few possible ideas that I'll list here, but I'd like others' take on it.

-Abolish the project entirely. This seems too extreme in my opinion, as renewable energy, in its existence alone, is useful, no matter from what source. This would require a lot of grassroots efforts to stall it up enough to frustrate people enough to drop it.

-Argue to change the state structure of it, to make it more pleasant, one way or another. This seems like an easier solution, but I see it as ineffective, as it still leaves it in state control, which could be Minnis-ized (I lay claim to that word!) one way or another, or would simply give over to multinational control far too easily. This sort of thing might be achieved by just working with the initiative itself.

-Argue to establish the project in a localized faculty only, with representatives solely from local energy producers and residents. This seems like a much more amenable solution to me. By keeping it at a city/community level, we have a much more direct method of representing the people. Energy projects can be decided based on the community needs, and a collective array could be decided between districts. The problem here is two-fold: First, ensuring that people do have direct control over what happens with it and also combining it with plans to reduce energy consumption overall. I would say to add in a clause that whenever a portion of money goes to establishing a power array, it must also go to projects to reduce energy consumption, whether that be green renovations or what have you. Said energy reduction money should be distributed to communities by population (Or another formula that is more effective, I'm just winging things right now, and am sick, so creative ideas are not as forthcoming). As far as achieving this, it uhnfortunately would require that we work through state government to achieve this sort of thing. Ew.

-Allow the project to go forward, at least in current form, as is now, and then seize local/bioregional control over it. While I like the idea of exploiting multinationals like they exploit everyone else, this one seems along the lines of a Cascadian revolution. One can dream, but for me, even as I work towards it right now, it remains just that.

Those are some of the basic arguments I've heard so far. Again, it'd be nice to get some more ideas out there to see if this thing has any viability at all.
Perhaps a blend of your 3rd and 4th bullet points... 11.Mar.2006 08:11

Pravda or Consequences

Let the state with it resources establish Apollo as a grant project for the first year with the expectation that it will find a way to maintain its existence.

Apollo must be controlled by citizens of Oregon, not the state government or commercial interests.

Apollo's governing body must be elected by Oregon residents and each candidate must disclose any relationships to entities that could have influence over decision-making. I'll leave it to the legal eagles to articulate the transparency.

Apollo must establish standards of competency and be able to document it, or dissolve.

Time's a wastin' and the air isn't getting any cleaner.