Gas prices are on the decline as we head into the summer driving season, deflating the GOP's gas price attacks and pushing their allies to use their old playbook against clean energy. (Click here for Solyndra talking points.) Now is the time to go on offense with progressive energy solutions—which polls show Americans rightly see as more credible than "drill here, drill now."
FUEL EFFICIENCY STANDARDS
- It's common sense: when our cars can go more miles on the same amount of gas, we can go longer between fill ups and pay less at the pump.
- With the Administration's new fuel efficiency standards, families will save money, our nation will use less oil, and we can all breathe cleaner air—everybody wins.
- Ultimately the only way to make America more energy secure and less vulnerable to oil price spikes is to get less dependent on oil. The nonpartisan experts say strengthening fuel efficiency standards is one of the best ways to do that.
- Automakers innovate new technologies all the time and our market system is all about competition. So it just makes sense for automakers to compete for customers based on how efficient and cost-effective their cars are.
Killer Facts: Thanks to the Obama Administration's fuel efficiency standards, Americans will save more than $1.7 trillion at the pump—more than $8,000 per vehicle by 2025. Almost 90 percent of small business owners believe it's important to take action now to increase fuel efficiency in cars and light trucks.
REINING IN WALL STREET SPECULATION
- It's bad enough Wall Street greed crashed our economy, putting millions of families out of work. But the big banks keep inventing new ways to gamble and stick us with the tab.
- Now Wall Street speculators are abusing the oil markets by buying up oil, creating the perception of a shortage and driving prices higher—only to flip the oil for a quick profit at our expense.
- We need to crack down on this excessive speculation and manipulation that's costing families at the pump—by making sure there's strong oversight of Wall Street and strong penalties for abusing the rules.
- But instead of reining in Wall Street abuses, Republican politicians are trying to give them more power. Letting Wall Street write their own rules and keeping us hooked on oil aren’t solutions. They’re favors to campaign donors.
Killer Facts: Each year, the impact of excessive speculation on gas prices costs a typical owner of a Honda Civic $400 more, a Ford Explorer driver $550 more, and an F-150 pickup owner $750 more.
CLEANER, SAFER SOURCES OF ENERGY
- We're already drilling like crazy and U.S. oil production is the highest it's been in years—but prices are still going up. It should be clear that we need to pursue more than the fossil fuels that will run out anyway.
- So let's invest in energy efficiency to make us less dependent on oil and in cleaner, safer sources of energy like wind and solar that won't ever run out.
- In contrast, Republican politicians' idea of "all of the above" is really just billions in taxpayer dollars for oil companies already raking in record profits.
- When it comes to our nation's clean energy investments, examples like Solyndra show exactly why we need to invest more. We should be leading the world in creating renewable energy jobs, not shipping them overseas to China and Europe.
Killer Facts: Under President Obama, the U.S. is now closest we've been in almost 20 years to achieving energy independence. For the first time in over a decade, America is importing less than half of the oil our nation uses, and domestic oil output is the highest in eight years.
THE GOP STRATEGY: WHAT DOESN'T WORK
- Look, this should be obvious: the oil industry is no longer a new start-up that needs help getting off the ground. Big Oil is raking in billions in profits but still taking billions in taxpayer handouts, keeping our nation hooked on oil, and lobbying to kill off their clean energy competitors.
- But Republican politicians keep pushing more drilling and pipelines like they're the answer to all our energy problems.
- The GOP energy plan is just a poorly disguised fundraising strategy. Taxpayer handouts for Big Oil don't bring down gas prices, but they do bankroll billions for Republican donors.
- In fact, the Keystone pipeline—one of their favorite talking points on gas prices—could actually raise prices at the pump. And it'd take 45 years for Keystone to carry as much as the oil saved by the Obama Administration's fuel efficiency standards.
Killer Facts: For every penny more consumers pay at the gas pump, Big Oil profits shoot up by another $200 million. In return, almost 90 percent of the oil and gas industry's contributions this election cycle have gone to Republicans.
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By Kristen Fischer
It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.
Keeping Schools Safe<p>What will safer schools look like?</p><p>In a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2766822" target="_blank">JAMA article</a> published last month, <a href="https://www.jhsph.edu/faculty/directory/profile/1781/joshua-m-sharfstein" target="_blank">Dr. Joshua Sharfstein</a>, a pediatrician and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, outlined suggestions — many of which are similar to AAP's.</p><p>Remote learning protocols must stay in place, especially as some schools stagger home and in-building learning. If another shutdown needs to occur, children will rely on distance learning completely, so it must be easy to switch to, he said.</p><p>He suggested giving parents a daily checklist to document their child's health. Kids should be screened quickly on arrival and be given hygiene supplies. Maintenance staff should use appropriate PPE and have regular cleaning schedules. A notification system should be in place if a case is identified, Sharfstein recommended.</p><p><a href="https://www.albany.edu/rockefeller/faculty/erika-martin" target="_blank">Erika Martin</a>, PhD, an associate professor of public administration and policy at University at Albany, said nutrition assistance and health services should be included. She called for tutoring programs with virtual options as well as technology access.</p>
Supporting Staff<p>Teachers and staff will be affected by safeguarding measures, noted <a href="https://directory.sph.umn.edu/bio/sph-a-z/rachel-widome" target="_blank">Rachel Widome</a>, PhD, an associate professor of epidemiology and community health at University of Minnesota.</p><p>"In order for all of the in-school precautions to work well, we'll be asking a lot of teachers and staff," Widome told Healthline. In addition to their usual workload, they'll now be asked to monitor mask-wearing, ensure children are keeping distance, and be aware of any symptoms.</p><p>Along with Sharfstein, Widome called for an increase in financial support. More employees will likely be required so teachers and staff members can keep up with the added demands.</p>
Should Kids Go Back?<p>While these guidelines may help get some schools to reopen, many people don't think children should go back to school over fears they could contract the disease and spread it to other vulnerable family members like grandparents, infant siblings, or their parents.</p><p>In a <a href="https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2020/07/08/peds.2020-004879" target="_blank">Pediatrics</a> commentary, <a href="https://www.md.com/doctor/william-raszka-md" target="_blank">Dr. William V. Raszka, Jr.</a>, an infectious disease specialist at The University of Vermont Medical Center, argued that schools should open because school-aged children are far less important drivers of COVID-19 than adults.</p><p>But he says the risk and benefit is not equal among all students ages 5 to 18.</p><p>"Elementary schools are arguably higher priority for face-to-face schooling, since younger children are at lower risk for infection and transmission, and since parental supervision of younger children's distance learning may be particularly challenging," added Sorensen, who penned a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/channels/health-forum/fullarticle/2767411" target="_blank">June article in JAMA</a> with reopening tips. "That means middle and high schools are more likely to emphasize distance learning."</p><p>Specific student populations, such as special education students and students with disabilities, would also benefit greatly from more time spent in face-to-face environments, Sorensen said.</p>
What Parents Can Do<p>Parents should ask for and receive frequent updates from schools about plans for the fall. They should also be informed about plans if and when COVID infections are identified, Sharfstein said.</p><p>"I'd like to see parents investing now, during the summer, in doing things that can slow and stop the spread of the virus in their communities," Widome said.</p><p>"Now is a good time for kids to practice wearing masks and get used to them as they may be wearing them for longer stretches if school starts up in person," Widome suggested.</p><p>She recommends parents try different mask designs and materials to see what children are more comfortable wearing.</p><p>"If you are using cloth face coverings, it's good to have extras on hand," Widome added.</p><p>Parents should model healthy behavior at home and while out in public — another thing that could affect how well children adapt to reopening practices, Sorensen said.</p><p>"Children may want to know more about face coverings," added <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/leescott/" target="_blank">Lee Scott</a>, chairwoman of the Educational Advisory Board at <a href="https://www.goddardschool.com/" target="_blank">The Goddard School</a>. "Dramatic play, such as creating or wearing a face covering, may help some children adjust to this concept." Schools can also show children photos of what faculty members look like in their masks so the students are familiar with that appearance.</p><p>Johns Hopkins University recently released its eSchool+ Initiative, a slew of resources surrounding education during the pandemic. These include a <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-checklist/" target="_blank">checklist for administrators</a>, report on <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/ethics-of-reopening/" target="_blank">ethical considerations</a>, and a tracker of <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-policy-tracker/" target="_blank">state and local reopening plans</a>.</p>
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By Eoin Higgins
Over 300 groups on Monday urged Senate leadership to reject a bill currently under consideration that would incentivize communities to sell off their public water supplies to private companies for pennies on the dollar.
<div id="fea63" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9a6f211c2bc5aedd34837944cb8eeedf"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1281000111481294849" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Water in Illinois is overwhelmingly public. Why is Tammy Duckworth sponsoring a bill that aims to change that? https://t.co/1V36Kkd99s</div> — The American Prospect (@The American Prospect)<a href="https://twitter.com/TheProspect/statuses/1281000111481294849">1594249201.0</a></blockquote></div>
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