The State of Energy:
Hope and Change versus Fact and Reality
From the words of Obama’s State of the Union address, presented here as annotated quotes, we can extrapolate the state of energy.
“Passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill, ” was stressed. It would be good if we had an energy bill—or even a plan. The insecure state of energy stifles development and quells investment in business in America—which, of course, includes energy.
Energy is central to America’s economy. In fact, energy is the economy. GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and energy usage track side-by-side. Our GDP goes up, so does energy usage. Make energy expensive or unstable, GDP declines, we borrow more money from China, and our national debt goes up.
This is despite cooling temperatures, regardless of continuing evidence that the global warming is, as India’s Open Magazine states, “unprecedented in its deceit.” Still, Obama clings to hope of a climate change bill—imperiling the American economy.
No treaty was signed in Copenhagen—largely due to the fact that China refused to play. Unlike our leadership, China knows that energy is the economy, and it is playing catch-up. The Chinese know not to turn down energy when they are turning up economic development and increasing the standard of living.
Referencing an energy and climate bill, Obama stated that it is “The right thing to do.”
“Our nation has always been built to compete, ” Obama crowed. This is a good concept. But how can we compete in the global marketplace when our energy policy is based more on hope and change than fact and reality? Is trying to “change” the energy that works for one that we “hope” will work “the right thing to do?” When did damaging our economy in a recession become the “right thing to do?”
Obama also claimed that, “Energy is ripe for innovation.” Energy has been the leader in innovation. We can now drill for oil and gas using a much smaller footprint than ever. We can access more of our resources, cleanly and efficiently, than ever before. Mining is different from what it was in the 1950s, when unknown dangers were prevalent.
During the State of the Union, the virtues of bio-fuels and clean coal were mentioned. China is criticized for its increasing number of coal-fueled power plants, yet the new facilities are cleaner than anything we have. There is such a negative tone in America regarding coal, that getting any coal-fueled power plant permitted is nearly impossible—no matter how clean it is.
Listeners where surprised with the comment about “building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants.” Sadly, Obama's actions indicate that he does not believe that nuclear power is “safe,” and closure of Yucca Mountain ensures that he can sound like he is for nuclear power while preventing it from ever really becoming a broad-based reality.
His statement on “opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development” was also unexpected. This is a great idea, and Americans generally want to “drill, baby, drill.” However just a few short days after this suggestion, his actions show that he doesn’t really mean what he says. Obama’s federal budget, released on February 1, has massive new taxes on the industry that may cripple domestic oil and gas production. This is on top of the already increased user fees and proposals that will discourage investment in new American production.
Considering the above, one might be hopeful over this: “It's time to get serious about fixing the problems that are hampering our growth.” Sadly, when it comes to energy, the “problems” are in the Obama Administration. People like Lisa Jackson and Ken Salazar are enacting policies that are creating an unstable energy environment and thwarting investment.
Here’s another line on which we can probably all agree: “America must always stand on the side of freedom.” Yet, when it comes to energy, on our own shores, we are living with energy socialism. A citizen who owns minerals is not allowed to access them as the government controls when, how, and if a well can be drilled or a mine can be dug.
The State of the Union address was one of the longest in recent history. Despite all those words, no plan was outlined for dealing with terrorism. The best attack for defeating our foes could be to stop funding them through the importation of foreign oil. We have enough resources here to supply our needs while developing the next generation of fuels. Meanwhile, we need to “drill here, drill now.”
Marita Noon is the Executive Director at CARE (Citizens' Alliance for Responsible Energy), the nonprofit organization working to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom and the American way of life. Find out more at www.responsiblenergy.org.
Learn about Mr. Stolyarov's novel, Eden against the Colossus, here.