Chunk It or Chuck It?

Marita Noon
Issue CCLXIX - December 14, 2010
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Following the demise of cap-and-trade, a key initiative touted during his campaign, President Obama has admitted defeat on his proposed climate-change legislation. Two main problems exist. First America’s citizens are fearful of his plans to "fundamentally change America." Then, the topic has been in the public debate for the two years of attempted passage, and people have come to see it as a hidden tax. At a time when the country is in an economic war, people know we can ill-afford additional costs.

After Harry Reid announced that cap-and-trade is dead, the President has begun talking about doing the same basic legislation in "chunks"—think bits and pieces that will slip through unnoticed by a battle-weary public. The "chunk" strategy is one more attempt to go around the will of the people. Here a chunk, there a chunk, and before you know it you have cap-and-trade—or some other policy that digs deep into the taxpayers' pockets.

Instead of "chunking it," President Obama and Congress should "chuck it."

Just released, the "Post-Partisan Power" report, acknowledges the need for a new approach. The collaborative effort is supposedly the result of a "yearlong dialogue" between three well-known think tanks: the American Enterprise Institute (conservative) and the Brookings Institute and Breakthrough Institute (liberal-leaning). Yet, their solutions seem to be rooted in the pre-recession economy. The authors presume that people will be content with fees on imported oil, surcharges on electricity, and paying "slightly more" (all report suggestions). Yet, according to, most Americans aren’t willing to suffer even bare-minimum level of sacrifice for the good of the planet. The "secure funding," "new appropriations," and "dedicated revenues" ideas miss the most important point: America is in an economic crisis, not an energy crisis!

Within the report are several viable solutions if America was flush with cash but they fall short when viewed through the filter of borrowing from China to make them happen.

However, we should borrow a few things from China. First, the Chinese realize that abundant, available, and affordable energy is essential to growth. So they are building power plants at dizzying rates. Next, the power plants they are building are cleaner and more technologically advanced than anything we have in America—both coal-fueled and nuclear. It has been years since America built a new power plant and the technology, often originating in America, has passed us by while we’ve been trying to push so-called alternative power and increasing the costs of traditional fuels.

The report is critical of America’s dependence on "the same fossil energy sources that have powered our nation since the 19th century" but fails to acknowledge that these same fuels are now used far more efficiently, effectively, and cleanly. We produce more with less energy and manufacture more responsibly than any other country on earth. We have an abundance of these fuels, and our wise use and innovative technologies have expanded the resource. Why are we depending on foreign countries—especially those whose leaders despise us for energy when we have it all here within our borders?

"How a limited and direct approach to energy innovation can deliver clean, cheap energy, economic productivity and national prosperity," is the report’s subtitle.

How about this for a limited, direct approach:

  • Expedite the permitting process for the newest technology in proven coal-fueled and nuclear power plants.
  • Open up access to America’s energy resources.
  • Use our abundant oil and natural gas for transportation fuels.

This will bring "economic productivity and national prosperity."

Tell Congress, "don’t chunk cap and trade, chuck it!"

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This TRA feature has been edited in accordance with TRA's Statement of Policy.

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Learn about Mr. Stolyarov's novel, Eden against the Colossus, here.

Read Mr. Stolyarov's comprehensive treatise, A Rational Cosmology, explicating such terms as the universe, matter, space, time, sound, light, life, consciousness, and volition, here.

Read Mr. Stolyarov's four-act play, Implied Consent, a futuristic intellectual drama on the sanctity of human life, here.