Sunshine on a Cloudy Day
The news has been bleak for those of us who support energy freedom and free-market principles. With that in mind we must take solace in any small victory we can. They have been few and far between.
Recently, however, in one week in March, there
were four bits of news worthy of celebration. Observed through the lens of the
big picture, they bring encouragement for the battle and could signal a
reversal in the flow of the tide that swept the current policies into a
position of power. Though virtually overlooked by the media, the specifics
highlighted below represent not just one community's opinion, but encapsulate
thought from a national, Congressional, state, and local perspective.
Back in January Rasmussen released poll data showing that the tide of public opinion regarding global warming had turned—more people now believe that climate change is natural rather than man-made. This single event was found to be a cause célèbre by many, but by itself garnered few headlines. When paired with the recent Gallup Poll reported on March 11, it begins to feel like a trend. The March 18 issue of Time Magazine reported "...climate change may be receding from the public consciousness. A
Next, with Democrats in control, the Omnibus Public Lands Act was expected to pass easily. It would have locked up thousands of acres with known natural resources and prevented their exploration and extraction—including oil, gas, and uranium. Even potential geothermal sites—which can enable one of the few baseload renewable electricity sources—would have been off limits. In January the Senate passed S 22. On March 11, it fell 2 votes short of passage in the US House. Three Democrats and most Republicans voted against it. Even though a similar bill was introduced the following week as HR 146—the fact that S 22 did not sail through could be an indicator of the turning tide.
Here in New Mexico, another victory was had, this time on March 11. In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court essentially slapped down the Governor's anti-energy policies. The Supreme Court agreed with Marbob Energy Corporation that the Oil Conservation Commission (OCC) had over-stepped its authority in accessing civil penalties against operators for alleged violations of its rules, regulations, and orders. In essence, the OCC writes a ticket for a violation. If you disagreed, it was like arguing with the traffic cop who wrote you the ticket instead of being able to take the matter to court as you would to dispute a speeding ticket. Under the Court's ruling, someone other than the agency that accuses an operator of a violation determines if, in fact, the allegation is correct. If the Supreme Court did not rule as they had, the OCC’s bureaucrats would be in the position of turning process into law—with the accused unable to defend themselves. A victory for energy freedom!
On the local level, free-market grass roots activists won a battle against additional taxes. In
Whew! We've had a busy few days in mid-March. Individually, each event did not make headlines. But looking at all of them together in proximity to each other is like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day, giving us hope that the tide might, in fact, be turning.
Marita Noon is the executive director of the Citizens Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE), a nonprofit organization advocating for citizen rights to energy freedom. She can be reached at email@example.com or www.responsiblenergy.org.
Robin Dozier Otten is President and CEO of RDO Strategic
Consultants, LLC. Robin also serves as the director of the New Mexico Prosperity Project, a non-partisan,
joint effort between
Statement of Policy.
Learn about Mr. Stolyarov's novel, Eden against the Colossus, here.