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by Nicole Loschke, staff writer

This summer Environmental Action worked on a campaign to pass the Energy for Our Future Act (H.R. 4384), a bill to increase fuel efficiency standards. By going door-to-door, canvassing more than 17,500 households, the Environmental Action Office in Honolulu raised $52,000 by August 15, and their efforts continue.

“ This is only the second summer the Honolulu office has been with the campaign,” said Jessica Henricks, field manager for Environmental Action. “We have already talked to thousands of people, held press conferences, and submitted letters to the editor about these pressing issues,” she added. “Without us here, there would be less public awareness.”

With 62 offices across the country, the Honolulu office is in good company. According to Aimee Gaines, citizen outreach director for the Honolulu Environmental Action office, the summer goal for all of the offices was to raise $9 million and talk to two million people, approximately one in every 50 households.

“ We’re going to shatter that goal,” said Gaines. “The summer isn’t over yet, and we have already raised $8.4 million (as of August 4th). We know we can’t match the oil industry lobbyists dollar for dollar, but with this much support and our innovative strategies, it’s enough to convince congress to do what is best for the public interest,” Gaines added.

If the Energy for Our Future Act passes, fuel efficiency standards will raise from the 20 mile per gallon average we see today, to a 40 mile per gallon average, within 10 years. This would:

1. Save consumers $45 billion at the pump.

2. Save as much oil as the U.S. currently imports from the Middle East.

3. Reduce global warming pollution by a quarter of a billion tons over 10 years.

“ The technology has been around for years that could enable us to get at least double the gas mileage we are getting now,” Gaines said. “The problem is the opposition of car manufacturers and big oil. They obviously want to make as much money as possible, but it’s at the expense of the environment, national security, and the consumers. The time to take action is now; we can’t put it off any longer.”

“ Whatever is being done to lower gas prices, I’m all for it, who wouldn’t be?” said HPU student Melissa Mejia, a junior majoring in journalism. “Come knock on my door, whatever I can do to help I will do.”

Environmental Action began its summer recruiting canvassers at HPU with a booth set up on Fort Street. Throughout the summer many students made their way into the Environmental Action Office. With the summer coming to an end, and mainland students returning to school, the campaign will continue, but it needs more volunteers to be effective, according to Gaines.

Environmental Action is always looking for student volunteers. To join them or contribute call 808-732-3902 or visit www.jobsthatmatter.org.




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