Amanda Kovattana

Middle-aged musings in interesting times

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Op-Ed In The Chronicle: Romancing the Hydrogen Highway

I love the illustrations I get with a piece in the Chron. I've only had a letter published before and it was illustrated too. They actually paid me for this. ($75). There are only a couple of misprints. The editor of Open Forum generated the mistakes and I only had an hour to make changes and provide more info before he left for the day, so didn't catch them. One line is supposed to read 10,000 gallons not 1,000. Two people wrote me trying to discredit the whole piece based on my "faulty math" when they really had other issues to argue. One wanted to debunk electric cars in favor of the hydrogen economy, but did not acknowledge that making hydrogen takes four times more electricity than it does to power an electric car the same distance down the road. And one retired "petroleum consultant" wanted me to understand that humankind could not possibly be having an affect on the climate change because 15,000 years ago the earth was warming and we had nothing to do with it. Many wrote me of their own ideas for alternative transportation solutions.

My electric vehicle group got me onto the subject when we voted to oppose the Hydrogen Highway Blueprint plan and I volunteered to write the open letter for our website. (This I still have to do). It took me the better part of a day to write, but it was worth it.
The piece got a lot of attention. I received 28 letters so far and the two letters to the editor that were printed today were very supportive. I even got a letter from Joseph Romm himself saying "great article". (He wrote the book I referenced). People appreciated a clear explanation of what's at stake. It took a lot of study to clarify for myself what was going on, but it all clicked into place when I realized that previous information to the public was very likely generated by the oil and auto industry since they make up the California Fuel Cell Partnership along with sympathetic government departments. Jim Hightower's Hightower Lowdown provided pithy solutions in the May issue on smart-energy driving that I could offer in my piece that made me sound like a real expert.

The article can be read online.


At 9:04 AM, Blogger Robert van de Walle said...

Keep it up!


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