The intensity built slowly. Environmentalists and economists lauded the Methane Collection Measure. Civil liberties groups denounced it. The average Joe could not fathom the reality and had no unified voice with which to alter the mindset of their elected officials. The bill passed, however slimly, unaltered through the house.
President Taylor took time to weigh it out. No doubt debating the politics of it. On which side of the vote was political death? He had the option to veto it. The House and Senate could not override his veto. They would hang success or failure from his neck.
The President made his choice. He would announce his decision on national television. I watched like everyone else. Except that I knew, I just knew what he would do. Here’s what he said.
So it’s come to this. The failure to wean ourselves from fossil fuels for ten, twenty, thirty, forty years. Despite the warnings of limited supply. Despite the constant geo-political struggles and wars and damage to foreign policy, we could not break our addiction to fossil fuel. We could not give it up. Democrats made efforts. Failed. Republicans made efforts. Failed. Even bipartisan efforts. Failed.
What do the Vulcans say? “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one.” Well, I guess we’ll have to have Taylor’s corollary: “The needs of the many outweigh the rights of the few or the one.” This is the hardest decision I have ever had to make. I have chosen to follow the rule that every elected official should follow but never does: “The needs of the people outweigh the need to be reelected.”
I asked myself, is it more justifiable as a temporary measure? Like wartime sacrifice. Like rationing for the greater cause. I believe the answer is “yes.” I came to the conclusion that yes, this is like wartime powers. But this is not war. This is bigger. This is survival.
There is concern that this will not be temporary, like levies to build public projects that never go away. And that is a fair concern.
But I assure you that there is a sunset clause. When certain energy parameters are met, the mandatory collection will cease. Our researchers are projecting that will be no more than five years.
This is a sacrifice we all must bear. And we will. And we will make it through. And we will be a stronger nation in the end.
So in the name of preserving this great country, I sign into law the Revision to the Coal Elimination Act.
And so he did. Prohibition must have been like this. Few could believe the government had really done it. People were in shock. “Methane Wars” was the headline du jour.
What shocked me, even though it shouldn’t have, was how quickly they begin to implement. For a bill that was quickly passed and quickly signed, the infrastructure and newly created federal agency were up and running in a couple months. It took some time to roll it out to everyone, but the green uniforms of the Federal Methane Collection Department were visible in most major cities within six months.
Meanwhile, there were dozens of major civil liberty law suits. All were rapidly heard and quashed by the Supreme Court. They backed the President’s notion of wartime powers: this was indeed necessary for the survival of the country. The Methane Wars had begun.