About 200 protest federal global-warming policies they call 'hot air'
This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 3, 2009 - For Jane Puszkar, it's not just the federal actions directed at curbing global warming.
--It's also the nation's $13 trillion in debt;
-- The sale of the Hummer auto line to the Chinese;
-- The recent photo that appears to show President Barack Obama (who she believes is a Muslim) bowing to Saudi King Abdullah.
Puszkar, 57, of St. Louis ticked off those examples -- and more -- to underscore that "I'm concerned about the direction this country is taking.''
Tuesday evening, she was among close to 200 people who showed up at the Family Arena in St. Charles to listen to various speakers warn against what they believe will be skyrocketing costs of fuel and energy if the Obama administration follows through with its "cap and trade'' proposals to attack global warming and encourage alternative fuels.
Tethered in the arena's parking lot was a hot-air balloon displaying the slogan, "Cap and Trade Means Lost Jobs, Higher Taxes, Less Freedom."
The balloon was the symbol of the Hot Air Tour, which began Tuesday night in St. Charles. The next stops are in Tennessee and Arkansas.
Americans for Prosperity, a conservative free-market group, is sponsoring the tour, which leaders say will "expose the increasingly unaffordable cost of global warming alarmism to average Americans."
The chief target is "cap and trade,'' a system whereby energy producers face a "cap'' on their pollution emissions. If they go over the cap, they have to purchase -- or "trade'' -- credits with firms that produce emissions below their cap. Critics say such a system will lead to skyrocketing costs for fuel and energy.
Americans for Prosperity's national president, Tim Phillips, was among those addressing the Family Arena crowd. "Our goal is to get as many folks as possible educated on this issue," Phillips said.
The group has been running ads on the radio and Internet. The ads airing in Missouri are targeting U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. and "ask the senator to say 'No' to energy taxes,'' Phillips said.
State Rep. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, drew cheers when he asserted that "while America was asleep, we got what we got in Washington D.C. Now, America is waking up!"
Some in Tuesday's audience carried signs saying, "Stop Global Warming Alarmism'' and "Cap and Trade equals $8 gallon gas."
Former state Rep. Carl Bearden of St. Charles is the state director for Americans for Prosperity. He was pleased with Tuesday's crowd, and said he understood the ire of people like Puszkar.
"People are wondering what they can do about their frustration,'' he said.
Robin Waymire of Kirkwood is among them, She and several friends had shown up for Tuesday's gathering. As they ate box dinners outside, the women aired their grievances about the current direction of the federal and state governments. The Democrats now in control, said Waymire, are "trying to weaken our state with all these programs. They're trying to socialize our country."
Broke in Beverly Martin of Fulton: "They already have."