Known as the “Green Cowboy,” S. David Freeman was recently in Venice to discuss his solution to weaning America off its dependence on foreign oil, coal, and nuclear power. Abbot Kinney’s Equator Books hosted the launch party for Freeman’s latest book, Winning Our Energy Independence: An Energy Insider Shows How.
At the party Freeman told the crowd, “I wrote this book…because I felt that we needed to raise the bar in the fight for survival of this society. We’ve got Al Gore and other people telling us there’s a dollar’s worth of problem, but we don’t have anybody telling us there’s even a nickel’s worth of solution to go with it. Most people do not know that the abundant sources of energy are the sun, the wind, and growing things. They are in awe of the BTU value of the coal, the oil, and even the nuclear power, so we are using the scarce stuff which I label as poison” instead of moving towards cleaner sources and better efficiency.
The Green Cowboy then suggested the need for “strategies that outlaw new coal fire plants and new nuclear plants and the need to pass a tax credit large enough so plug-in hybrid cars can sell for the same price as a hybrid car.” He also advocated having the federal government “pass fuel economy standards so the automotive companies will make cars” that are more fuel efficient. In his opinion, “There is no need for any new technology breakthroughs.”
Freeman also brought up what he called the “third rail of energy environmental policy,” which is a question to middle-and upper-income Americans: “How much is enough? Everyone brags about the mileage of his or her car, but nobody brags about how many miles he or she drives. We’ve got to understand that that the number of things we buy can kill us. If the rest of the world is following in our footsteps…the unintended consequences of that much digging, manufacturing, transporting, and throwing away is so enormous that this species called human beings is not going to be able to survive in that world.”
Freeman has worked in the energy industry and as a federal policy maker for over 30 years. He was appointed by President Carter as Chairman of the Board of the Tennessee Valley Authority and helped develop energy policy for Presidents Johnson and Nixon. He also has headed such major electrical utilities as the Lower Colorado River Authority, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, the New York Power Authority, and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. He currently is President of the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners, which is working on a comprehensive strategy for reducing air emissions from port operations.