US energy derangement 20

From The Heritage Foundation, by Dan Holler:

If the energy of the “past” were scarce or prohibitively expensive, starting a new chapter would make sense, but that isn’t the case. Rather, the President’s desire to scrap our economy’s current foundation in favor of expensive, unproven technologies is colored by his stated belief that human activity is causing global warming. 

Bizarrely, in his Earth Day address, the President said, “We still need more oil, we still need more gas.” Although Obama seems to recognize the essential role carbon-based fuels play in our economy, he clearly wants to see them phased out as quickly as possible. His $3.6 trillion budget request makes seven significant changes in the tax code and essentially declares war on domestic oil and natural gas production!

The most outlandish is a tax on production in the Gulf of Mexico, from which the nation produces significant quantities of oil and natural gas. Several tax deductions are targeted for elimination…

The budget also takes aim at what many consider the only silver bullet in the debate on energy and climate: nuclear power… But nuclear energy is critically important to our future…
It’s important to note that nearly 85% of our nation’s energy is carbon-based … Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is doing his part to  reduce energy by shutting off access to many of our nation’s most promising energy reserves. One of those reserves, the Green River Formation, contains an estimated 1.2 trillion to 1.8 trillion barrels of shale oil. Saudi Arabia’s official reserves pale in comparison, with a mere 289 billion barrels of oil.

Why does Salazar believe more R&D into this vast resource is unnecessary? Again, the answer is simple: He realizes we cannot have a new energy economy if the “old” is nowhere close to being depleted. Salazar has also repealed valid leases in Utah without a hearing and constructed hurdles that could prevent natural gas exploration in Colorado and oil exploration on Alaska’s North Slope.         

As if that weren’t enough, the President’s chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Jon Wellinghoff, believes coal and even nuclear may be things of the past, saying, “We may not need any, ever.” Combined, those two sources provide nearly 70% of our nation’s electricity supply. At least Wellinghoff acknowledges, “Natural gas is going to be there for a while, because it’s going to be there to get us through this transition that’s going to take 30 or more years.”

Enter House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.). He’s on a back-door mission to stop natural gas production in the Marcellus shale of Pennsylvania. A process known as “hydraulic fracturing” is necessary to gain access to the trillions of cubic feet of natural gas there. The state has regulated that process for the past 60 years, but Waxman would like to use the Safe Drinking Water Act to regulate it, thus giving the final authority on its use to the anti-carbon Environmental Protection Agency.

In less than four months in office, the President has laid the groundwork to transform our energy infrastructure by making “clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy.” Of course, all that requires making traditional energy more expensive to struggling American families and businesses.

Some very powerful individuals, Wellinghoff included, believe we can increase our renewable electricity generation 23-fold with almost no economic or consumer pain… In truth, no one knows exactly how much renewable energy will cost or if it is even possible. But the fact that vast amounts of conventional resources remain available at a much lower price suggests the government will have to engage in severe market manipulation if it hopes to achieve its goal. 

Last summer’s record gasoline prices should serve as a reminder of how a misguided energy policy can weaken America. For nearly four decades, the federal government has placed restrictions and outright bans on both onshore and offshore energy deposits. A systemic abuse of the legal and regulatory systems by radical environmentalists has been equally as damaging. According to the Chamber of Commerce, environmental groups “have organized local opposition, changed zoning laws, opposed permits, filed lawsuits, and bled projects dry of their financing.”

Ironically, these radicals oppose projects that will actually produce cleaner energy than today’s infrastructure, including relatively clean coal, nuclear and windmills. Their obstruction combined with inept government policies has undermined economic growth, weakened American energy security and actually prevented pollution-saving technology from being implemented. A radical, government-mandated, expensive conversion to renewable resources will create many more problems than it pretends to solve…

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Friday, May 8, 2009

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