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PROFNET GOVERNMENT LEADS: Bush's Hydrogen Initiative / Making Space Pay February 18, 2003


  ROUND-UPS: President Bush's Hydrogen Initiative
   1.  Bush's Hydrogen Initiative is Nothing New
   2.  Fuels Cells Do not Address Current Problems
   3.  Energy, Automaker Industry Would Benefit Most
   4.  The Source of Hydrogen is Just as Important
   5.  Hydrogen Will Have no Impact During Our Lives
   6.  Production and Storage Problems with Hydrogen
   7.  Is a Hydrogen Car in Your Immediate Future?

  ROUND-UPS: The Space Shuttle Disaster (continued)
   8.  Making Space Pay
   9.  Investigating the Tiles and the Angle of Approach
   10. No Perfection in Space Travel

  ROUND-UPS: Perspectives on Iraq (continued)
   11. European View of the Potential War with Iraq
   12. Authority for Attack
   13. Claiming the Moral High Ground
   14. What We Will Learn from a War with Iraq
   15. Bush Should not Try to Fulfill God's Will
   16. Europeans Strongly Oppose War
   17. Urban American Views on the Possible War with Iraq
   18. Brink of War Crisis Prevention

  ROUND-UPS: Voluntary Approach to Greenhouse Gases (continued)
   19. Voluntary Reduction of Emissions Makes No Sense

  20. Behavior: Is George Bush the Next Abraham Lincoln?
  21. Computers: Modernization of Federal Government Networks
  22. Insurance: Boxed in by Medicare
  23. Insurance: Consumer-Driven Health Plans
  24. International: Cooperation on Water Issues
  25. Law: Issues with the Sept. 11 Compensation Fund


1. BUSH'S HYDROGEN INITIATIVE IS NOTHING NEW. The "Freedom Fuel" announcement unfortunately continues the disingenuous approach of last year's "Freedom Car" announcement, and the previous Clinton-Gore administration's "Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles," says John M. DeCicco, Ph.D., senior fellow for Environmental Defense. All of these programs hype high-profile research in order to hide a lack of political commitment to address the serious problems associated with automobile fuel use. "Without a real commitment in the form of federal policies requiring reductions in car and light truck fuel consumption and global warming pollution on a clear timetable, there is no chance that the results of such research will ever come to market in ways that solve the problems that motivate the R&D to begin with," says DeCicco. "An expanded focus at taxpayer expense on futuristic technologies without policies that harness vehicle technology improvements available today represents only another step backward from tangible progress toward sustainable transportation." DeCicco: Phone: +1-734-827-9744. News Contact: Nicole De Beaufort

2. FUELS CELLS DO NOT ADDRESS CURRENT PROBLEMS. Although fuel cells show promise in a generation or two, the president's hydrogen program does nothing to address the nation's current threats, says Dr. Daniel Lashof, senior scientist and deputy climate center director for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a national non-profit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Meanwhile, the new White House budget cuts investment in other clean, renewable technologies, and the administration is actively opposing efforts to make today's cars and trucks cleaner and more fuel-efficient. "It will be a decade, maybe two, before we see fuel cell cars on the road. But we have an oil security problem now; we have a global warming problem now; we have an air pollution problem now. We have the technology today to fix these problems, but the White House is standing in the way. America deserves better," says Lashof. News Contact: Jon Coifman Phone: 1-202-289-2404

3. ENERGY, AUTOMAKER INDUSTRY WOULD BENEFIT MOST. "The Bush administration's partnership with domestic automakers to research fuel-cell or hydrogen-powered vehicles benefits some, but certainly not the environment. Not surprisingly, those who stand to benefit most are the major players in the energy and auto industries, including Texas oil companies and its investors," says Dr. Michael Seal, founder and director of Western Washington University's Vehicle Research Institute. "While the notion of a hydrogen-powered vehicle that drips only water from the tail pipe sounds like an environmentalist's dream, this provides no short-term solutions to our pollution and global warming problems. It's highly unlikely that fuel-cell technology will be feasible for at least 20 years -- if then." Seal: Phone: +1-360-650-3045. News Contact: Tanya Rowe Phone: +1-360-650-3350

4. THE SOURCE OF HYDROGEN IS JUST AS IMPORTANT. "The president's goal of having hydrogen powered cars in the near future is laudable, especially since hydrogen can be used as a fuel for fuel cells as well as modified internal combustion engines," says Jose Femenia, professor of marine engineering at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y. "In either case, this may result in reduced local CO2 generation. From my perspective, an important issue is going to be the source of the hydrogen," says Femenia. "If the primary source of the hydrogen is fossil fuels or the source of energy to disassociate water is fossil fuel, we really haven't gained very much on a global basis. But if renewable energy sources or nuclear power is the energy source for generation of the hydrogen, then globally we will have gained," says Femenia, who is currently working on developing the concept of burning municipal waste at-sea, generating electrical power and then using the power to disassociate water into hydrogen and oxygen. News Contact: Jim Jarvela Phone: +1-603-847-9123

5. HYDROGEN WILL HAVE NO IMPACT DURING OUR LIVES. "President Bush's hydrogen initiative is a laudable investment in what could become a long-term solution for transportation and other energy needs," says Craig Ebert, managing director for ICF Consulting. "It does nothing, however, for addressing current concerns over energy security or environmental issues such as global climate change. Barring fortuitous technological breakthroughs, hydrogen will have virtually no impact during most of our lives," says Ebert. "It is also not clear that hydrogen is destined to be a 'clear winner' over other technological options in the future. The bottom line is that long-term R&D is nice, but it does not help the U.S. and the world respond to today's problems." Ebert: Phone: +1-703-934-3505

6. PRODUCTION AND STORAGE PROBLEMS WITH HYDROGEN. While fuel-cell powered vehicles are now in testing and will shortly be in production, they all use either an alcohol or hydrocarbon fuel, says Richard Cohen, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Temple University. "The hydrogen is stripped from the fuel molecules and used in the fuel cell. Therefore, the idea of using hydrogen directly is a good one and has no technical problems regarding the fuel cell. However, the problems of production, transmission and storage of hydrogen before use are technically very challenging and will delay production and widespread acceptance of such vehicles for many years," Cohen says. Cohen: . News Contact: Preston Moretz Phone: +1-215-204-7476

7. IS A HYDROGEN CAR IN YOUR IMMEDIATE FUTURE? While alternative fuel vehicles are currently available and their cost will likely come down significantly over the next five years, President Bush in his recent State of the Union address called for the development of hydrogen-fueled vehicles, a prospect that could take considerably longer to accomplish, says Richard S. Cohen, mechanical engineering professor at Temple University. "There are few facilities for generating hydrogen in large enough quantities or for distributing it, but the method of storing it in vehicles has not been well established," says Cohen. "Solving the storage and distribution problems will be much more difficult than building cars that use hydrogen. Most experts estimate it will be 10 to 20 years before there will be enough hydrogen-fueled vehicles and adequate distributions systems for general public use." News Contact: Preston Moretz Phone: +1-215-204-7476


DREW WINTER, editor of Ward's AutoWorld magazine, a PRIMEDIA publication, is available for comment about President Bush's hydrogen initiative. Winter is an automotive expert with more than 20 years of experience and can discuss a wide range of topics related to the automotive industry. News Contact: Laura Schramm

TOM DRENNEN, professor of economics at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, is an energy expert who has been contracted by Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., to begin a two-year study on the use of hydrogen to create an oil-free future. His research will be presented to Bush and Congress to help them understand the issues such as cost, accessibility and various avenues implementing hydrogen as an energy course may take. News Contact: Mary LeClair Phone: +1-315-781-3540


We've added the following to items posted previously at

8. MAKING SPACE PAY. Like the Challenger tragedy 17 years ago, accidents are often the direct result of well-meaning attempts to save money and create political allies because of NASA's partnerships with private, for-profit companies and other governmental organizations, says William D. Kay, associate professor of political science at Northeastern University and the author of several books on NASA's policy-making throughout the years. "NASA is a government agency and it acts like a government agency," says Kay. "In order to 'make space pay,' NASA partnered with the Department of Defense in the 1970s and '80s to provide what they hoped would be routine access to space, offering the DOD a cut of the action in return for a governmental ally and a boost in funding. Everyone thinks that NASA alone launches the shuttle, and that simply isn't true," Kay says, noting that Columbia was operated in part through contracts with Boeing and Lockheed Martin from the private sector. Kay: Phone: +1-617-373-4401. News Contact: Christine Phelan Phone: +1-617-373-5455

9. INVESTIGATING THE TILES AND THE ANGLE OF APPROACH. Since the tiles on the Space Shuttle are ceramic materials, which are composite materials, the contact with the atmosphere creates a high friction, resulting in a high temperature on the tiles. These tiles may fail due to the high temperature, says Joana Finegan, assistant professor in the IET department at Central Michigan University. "Still I have a concern as to which should be investigated. Since the shuttle Columbia had 27 successful previous missions, and the tiles resisted the high temperatures at the contact with the atmosphere, why did they not resist now? One answer that should be investigated is the angle with which the shuttle entered the atmosphere. For each angle, you have a different friction force. One of the causes of the high temperatures could be the angle with which the shuttle entered the atmosphere," says Finegan. News Contact: Patricia Housley Phone: +1-989-774-3197

10. NO PERFECTION IN SPACE TRAVEL. "There is no such thing as perfection in an operation as complex as space travel. I have no concerns about the makeup of the panel appointed by NASA to investigate the Columbia disaster," says Peter J. Rusthoven, a partner with the law firm Barnes & Thornburg. "I hope the commission completes its work with minimal finger-pointing and that space exploration then continues. My hope is we do not indulge in a cheap moral superiority of 20-20 hindsight. I don't want us to become afraid to send another shuttle into orbit. People in NASA have to have the willingness and the courage and the confidence to make their best decision to move forward," says Rusthoven. News Contact: David Shank Phone: +1-317-293-5590


We've added the following to items posted previously at

11. EUROPEAN VIEW OF THE POTENTIAL WAR WITH IRAQ. "I have been following the European side of things, so I can understand the view of Europe on the Iraq crisis," says William I. Hitchcock, visiting assistant professor of history at Wellesley College and author of "The Struggle for Europe: The Turbulent History of a Divided Continent 1945-2002." Hitchcock's extensive writing on U.S.-European relations, the European Union, French and German foreign policy, British foreign policy in the 20th century, and his expertise on the United Nations system gives him a unique perspective on the European point of view on the potential war with Iraq. "I am not a military analyst but a diplomatic analyst, and I think I can explain the European point of view, especially on the Security Council." News Contact: Arlie Corday Phone: +1-781-283-3321

12. AUTHORITY FOR ATTACK. "There remains a serious legal question about war with Iraq and U.S. law: Does the October 2002 congressional resolution permit the president to determine that the conditions merit an attack by the U.S.? Some think not, that additional domestic law authority is required before the president may take the U.S. to war against Iraq," says William Banks, a member of the faculty of the Syracuse University College of Law since 1978. Since 1998, Banks has also been a professor of public administration in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and has been co-director of the Global Legal Affairs Program. Banks has also published numerous articles, book chapters and books, including, "National Security Law and the Power of the Purse," "Constitutional Law: Structure and Rights in our Federal System" and "National Security Law, 3d Ed." Banks: Phone: +1-315-443-3784. News Contact: Cynthia Moritz Phone: +1-315-443-9039

13. CLAIMING THE MORAL HIGH GROUND. "The sense of having the moral high ground can justify extreme acts. It is much easier to sell a war, for example, when one claims to have the high ground," says Elaine Pagels, Harrington Spear Paine Foundation professor of religion at Princeton University. "When you frame a conflict as God's people versus Satan's people, one side can only annihilate the other. The president is setting this country up as a target for militant Muslims, not as a magnet for pluralism," says Pagels, who notes that Bush has used his religious language to stifle political debate on key domestic and foreign policy issues, damage the separation between religion and government, and undermine religious pluralism in America. News Contact: Sharon Lewis

14. WHAT WE WILL LEARN FROM A WAR WITH IRAQ. "Without President Bush and the U.S. pushing the UN on unhindered inspections in Iraq, Sadaam Hussein would be dragging out this international conflict for the next year. And that's Iraq's goal," says Ron Dresner, executive director of the Defense USA Coalition, a political action group involved in international policy. "In several years, when we look back at this period in time, some of us should ask about the real role the UN should have in helping with international conflict. Looking back, the U.S. will probably also learn about some of the closet politics and secret diplomacy that involved our so-called allies with Iraq and terrorist groups." Dresner: Phone: +1-860-676-7777

15. BUSH SHOULD NOT TRY TO FULFILL GOD'S WILL. "Many fail to embrace President Bush's world-view and object to his aggressive, arrogant and war-driven foreign policy. Just as religious leaders have a duty to refrain from dictating the political beliefs of their congregations, political leaders must not hold the misguided illusion that they are prophets of God's will," says the Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of the National Interfaith Alliance. Gaddy feels that such language is dangerous, divisive and destructive to the healthy debate essential to the democratic process. News Contact: Jennifer McDonnell Phone: +1-914-833-7093

16. EUROPEANS STRONGLY OPPOSE WAR. "Though on the surface Europeans seem somewhat divided about the American approach to Iraq -- with France and Germany highly critical, but Britain, Spain, Italy and several eastern European countries recently signaling solidarity with the U.S. -- in fact both public and elite European opinion are massively against a war at this time, and deeply skeptical of what is seen as American unilateralism. In fact, Europeans are more united than they have usually been in the last 50 years about U.S. foreign policy, says Craig Parsons, director of the Maxwell European Union Center and assistant professor of political science. "Rather than their usual deep debates, we see extremely widespread criticism of the U.S., complicated only by the British, Spanish and Italian governments stepping well beyond their own public opinion for idiosyncratic reasons, and by several eastern European governments trying to act like model members of NATO," says Parsons, author of the forthcoming book, "A Certain Idea of Europe." News Contact: Jill Leonhardt Phone: +1-315-443-5492

17. URBAN AMERICAN VIEWS ON THE POSSIBLE WAR WITH IRAQ. "With the impending war on Iraq, urban Americans are clearly anticipating a lengthy battle, and feel strongly that Saddam Hussein poses a grave danger to the U.S.," says Jameel Spencer, president/partner of Blue Flame Marketing and Advertising, a lifestyle marketing company led by CEO Sean "P. Diddy" Combs. According to a recent survey of urban Americans conducted by Blue Flame, 34.4 percent of the respondents believe Saddam Hussein poses an extreme danger to the U.S., 37.9 percent believe he poses serious danger and 4.3 percent believe Saddam poses minimal to no danger to the U.S. "Only 12.9 percent of respondents said that they strongly support a U.S. invasion of Iraq, despite the fact that over 95 percent believe Saddam poses a danger to the U.S.," says Spencer, noting that female respondents believe the war would last 22 months, while males believe it would last over 14 months. News Contact: Ronn Torossian Phone: +1-212-999-5585

18. BRINK OF WAR CRISIS PREVENTION. "There is no industry, no locale, that is immune from the potential impacts of war and terrorism," says Jonathan Bernstein, editor/publisher of Crisis Manager, an international e-mail newsletter on crisis management. Bernstein urges organizations in America and closely allied nations to have a "how will the war affect us" brainstorming session immediately, to include addressing the many ways in which business can be interrupted. Bernstein notes that the war will not just be in Iraq, but wherever terrorists strike worldwide. Bernstein: Phone: +1-626-305-9277


MARK BROXMEYER, national chairman of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), a non-profit, non-partisan educational organization committed to explaining the need for a prudent national security policy for the U.S., addressing the security requirements of both the U.S. and Israel, and strengthening the strategic cooperation relationship between these two democracies, is available for comment on the issues related to homeland security. Broxmeyer has met with the U.S. Secretary of the Navy, Rear Admirals, Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Ambassadors of Bosnia and Turkey and the former CIA director and has consulted with high-level security officials and diplomats from all over the world to reinforce the important strategic relationship between the United States and Israel in promoting lasting global peace and democracy. News Contact: Cathy A. Preece, Todd Shapiro Associates, Inc. Phone: +1-631-952-2600


We've added the following to items posted previously at

19. VOLUNTARY REDUCTION OF EMISSIONS MAKES NO SENSE. "Voluntary goals for reducing global warming pollutants make no more sense than voluntary speed limits or drinking water standards," says Katherine Silverthorne, director of the U.S. Climate Change Program for the World Wildlife Fund. Silverthorne leads the WWF's U.S. efforts on climate change, including the WWF's work on U.S. policy. "With public health and safety at risk, we need a program that assures reductions in heat-trapping gases," says Silverthorne. News Contact: Kathleen Sullivan Phone: +1-202-778-9576


20. BEHAVIOR: IS GEORGE BUSH THE NEXT ABRAHAM LINCOLN? President Lincoln has widely been regarded for over 100 years as America's greatest President. Yet, he wasn't very popular at the time he ran the country. "Comparisons between living Presidents and Lincoln always favor Lincoln," says Dr. Gene Griessman, author of "The Words Lincoln Lived By." According to Griessman, who is known for his highly acclaimed one-man play on Lincoln, there are as many similarities between President Bush and Lincoln as there are dissimilarities. Griessman details what they have in common, as well as how they differ, and can offer a conclusion on what Bush must do to create a remarkable legacy worthy of Lincoln. News Contact: Marilynn Mobley Phone: +1-770-578-6002

21. COMPUTERS: MODERNIZATION OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT NETWORKS. "From 2002 to 2004, government's spending on computer security will increase 75 percent under President Bush's proposed plan," says David Gross, CEO of Cryptek, a leading provider of network security for protecting high-value information assets and a large government contractor. "Modernization of federal government networks is critical for our fight against cyberterrorism," says Gross. News Contact: Irina Patterson, The Pen Group Phone: +1-305-529-1944

22. INSURANCE: BOXED IN BY MEDICARE. Putting more decision-making power in the hands of healthcare consumers would go a long way toward solving the nation's healthcare crisis, says Phil De Vous, public policy manager for the Acton Institute. A top-down, command-and-control approach, and heavy regulation at the state and federal level, "has had the effect of putting those with and without healthcare in rigid boxes, such as Medicare for the elderly," says De Vous, who advocates a mix of policy initiatives including medical savings accounts, tax credits for low-income workers, tax credits for pro bono medical work, and meaningful tort reform. De Vous: Phone: +1-616-454-3080. News Contact: John Couretas Phone: +1-616-813-8941 Web site:

23. INSURANCE: CONSUMER-DRIVEN HEALTH PLANS. "Consumer-driven health plans can lower healthcare costs, and there is a growing realization that such plans could be the solution to the country's health insurance crisis," says David Cowles, co-founder of Benemax, a benefits management company Cowles. "It not only saves employers money, but also lets employees choose their own doctors and health services -- without taking on a heavy cost burden. That's why businesses, and now government and health insurance advocacy organizations, are quickly turning to consumer-driven health plans, also known as defined contribution health plans," says Cowles, who can discuss how consumer-driven health plans have already reduced costs for employers seeking creative ways to stabilize health premiums while maintaining a high level of health benefits for their employees. News Contact: Edna Kaplan Phone: +1-781-639-1910

24. INTERNATIONAL: COOPERATION ON WATER ISSUES. With the Oslo peace process frozen, there is one issue on which the Israelis and the Palestinians still remain active -- cooperation on water issues. Nowhere is the impact of water scarcity felt more than in the Middle East, where millions of people vie continuously for a share in ever-diminishing supplies, says Dr. Eilon Adar of Israel's Ben-Gurion University of The Negev. "Water might serve as a catalyst for the establishment of peace in the Middle East. All major water resources, including river basins and groundwater reservoirs in the Middle East, are shared by at least two countries," says Adar. "In 2030, there will be approximately 20 Million people -- both Israelis and Palestinians -- living West of the Jordan River who will require about 4 billion cubic meters of water per year. Rainfall and other natural sources will only account for 2 billion cubic meters of water per year, so we need to cooperate on water saving, treatment and desalination," says Adar. News Contact: Ronn Torossian Phone: +1-212-999-5585

25. LAW: ISSUES WITH THE SEPT. 11 COMPENSATION FUND. The Sept. 11 Compensation Fund's administrator and the Department of Justice have been sued by families/survivors of the World Trade Center tragedy. "Some of the families feel that the administrator of the fund, Kenneth Feinberg, has been unfair to all aggrieved individuals," says Perry Binder, JD, legal studies professor at Georgia State University. "I believe that while this lawsuit may be technically correct, the courts may view Feinberg's actions as reasonable and fair under the circumstances. All lawyers should have seen this lawsuit coming," Binder says. Binder:

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PRNewswire -- Feb. 18