12.31.2010 0

Natural Gas Development Should be Considered as an Alternative to Team Obama’s “Renewable” Agenda

  • On: 01/03/2011 08:49:57
  • In: Energy Crisis, Global Warming Fraud, and the Environment
  • By Kevin Mooney

    With the demise of “cap and trade” legislation, the Obama Administration has shrewdly pivoted in the direction of renewable mandates that emphasize solar and wind technology as a sop to green groups. Looking ahead, in 2011, newly elected Republican lawmakers are well positioned to advance energy policies that better exploit America’s homegrown resources and lower consumer costs. They should also press the House leadership to highlight and expose federal initiatives that will most likely boost electricity prices.

    The so-called “Solar Energy Development” program that targets six western states (Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah), which was set in motion earlier this month, should be subjected to congressional scrutiny come January. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu both claim the program will create jobs over the long term.

    “Our country has incredible renewable resources, innovative entrepreneurs, a skilled workforce, and manufacturing know-how,” Secretary Chu declared in a press release. “It’s time to harness these resources and lead in the global clean energy economy. Today’s announcement is part of an integrated strategy to cultivate the entire innovation chain to create the jobs of the 21st century economy and to put America on a sustainable energy path.”

    However, an analysis of state level public policy measures that include renewable standards and other green schemes concludes that consumers will lose out under Team Obama’s solar energy program.

    The U.S. states that already have renewable electricity mandates of some kind have electricity prices that are 40 percent higher than those that do not, Dan Simmons, director of state affairs for the Institute of Energy Research (IER) explained in an interview.

    “Where states get their electricity is the key to the price of electricity as in the sources of electricity generation,” he said. “13 of the 15 states that have the cheapest electricity in this nation either get a majority of electricity from coal or get a majority of their electricity from hydro-electric power — and the problem here is that we’re not building new coal or new hydro electric power — at least large hydroelectric power in the U.S. and that is a problem for electricity prices going forward.”

    Nevertheless, the new solar program is needed so policy makers can meet the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 and other federal laws such as Endangered Species Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Clean Air Act, administration officials have argued.

    But there is another way to balance out legitimate environment concerns with growing energy needs, Rep. William Cassidy (R-La.), points out. America’s substantial supplies of natural gas deserve greater consideration in the new congress, he has suggested. Cassidy, who was recently appointed to serve on the Energy and Commerce Committee, also says the business enterprises attached to the natural gas industry could help reignite the nation’s manufacturing base and encourage foreign investment into the U.S.

    “Let’s start moving toward a natural gas economy,” he said in an interview. “It is a domestic energy supply with proven reserves available in an area of the world where we have the rule of law. Right now we have a 40 year supply and the only reason we don’t go out and find more gas is because we have such a backlog. This is a clean fuel, which works well for Louisiana and the nation as a whole.”

    Despite the demise of “cap and trade,” it is evident that administration officials remain committed to anti-energy policies that restrict and restrain the development of cheap and affordable natural resources. Moreover, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is set to unleash expansive greenhouse gas regulations.

    Up until now, self-described environmentalists have had the upper hand over free market activists. This could change in 2011 if shrewd, forward-looking lawmakers such as Rep. Cassidy find greater expression for their proposals.

    Kevin Mooney is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government (ALG) News Bureau.

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