In response to what we believe to be muddled and biased journalism revealed in your recent article on the Environmental Affairs Board (“EAB’s Euro Trip Leads to Funding Concerns,” Daily Nexus, Oct. 27, 2009), we think the readers of the Daily Nexus need a better account of what happened, as well as some critical reflection of the Nexus’ journalistic integrity.
While you do point out that EAB has serious intentions in its trip, the title says that EAB is going on a “Euro-Trip.” You at the Nexus know very well what this is supposed to suggest, namely, that we’re using Associated Students’ funds to pay for some sort of lavish vacation seen in teen comedy movies. This is entirely inaccurate and insulting to our cause.
It is also important to provide numbers on the various votes. While Finance Board denied EAB funding in a close 9-7 vote, Legislative Council overturned the ruling in a 17-6 vote. Did you guys stop to ask some of the Leg Council reps who voted in favor of the decision how they felt about the issue? A look at the votes suggests that there’s much less controversy than you’d like to suggest.
You also distort EAB’s record on environmental action, particularly on climate change. The Nexus points out that EAB “convinced a representative to commit to environmental consciousness.”
The more accurate picture is that EAB commissioned a rigorously researched report documenting the economic case for renewable energy, which won Associated Students’ “Project of the Year” in 2008-09.
What did we do with this report? EAB visited over 20 House members to present the report and ask them support climate change legislation. Representative Joe Baca’s office affirmed a policy ask of ours, to vote for climate change legislation, even though Representative Baca was listed as a “fence sitter” on the issue. True to his word, Representative Baca voted in favor of the American Clean Energy and Security Act in a 219-212 split.
Keep in mind that EAB and other students’ political efforts in early 2009 were followed by oil and gas companies increasing spending on lobbying “by 30 percent [from 2008] to $37.7 million in April, May and June of this year ,” according to the Wall Street Journal. As informed and concerned citizens we must do everything possible to counter the massive energy interests waging war against climate legislation. In large part, it is the efforts of dedicated students from across the country that has staved off the corporate powers that care little about our future.
We are now faced with a similar energy corporation lobbying war in the Senate as they consider an energy bill leading up to Copenhagen. It is now more important than ever that the youth of this nation engage lawmakers before, during and after Copenhagen. EAB plans to be a part of that, and going to Copenhagen will help put fire to the feet of lawmakers.
It seems that the Nexus is more concerned about sensationalizing Legislative Council and Finance Board with hints of decadent vacations instead of reporting on the hard work and dedication that organizations like EAB have put forward over the years. In your 567-word article, it might have helped to have another hundred setting a more accurate context of EAB’s dedicated record to climate change engagement.