President Obama’s energy policies make no economic or political sense. The latest evidence of this is the Supreme Court’s ruling to temporarily block the administration’s effort to combat global warming by regulating emissions from coal-fired power plants. The court’s action — which was unprecedented — came in response to a challenge from 29 states, including Montana, and dozens of corporations and industry groups.
Obama pretends we exist in a world where renewables like solar and wind can drive economies and meet our individual energy needs, but rest assured that we’re going to continue to rely on coal to generate electricity well into the future. In 2015, coal was the largest source of electricity in the United States, accounting for nearly 40 percent of power production.
We all favor renewables, but they’re no match for coal. Coal can address peak performance and on-demand issues. Although the cost of generating electricity from solar and wind has declined dramatically in recent years, together they supply less than 5 percent of the nation’s power. Solar and wind won’t be competitive with coal until there’s a technological breakthrough in large-scale electrical storage because solar only works when the sun shines and wind only works when the wind blows.
Foolish lease moratorium
The Obama Administration foolishly announced plans to temporarily suspend all new coal leases on federal public lands. Left unchecked, this action would have led to the loss of 40.8 percent of the nation’s coal production, which has already fallen to its lowest level in 30 years. It will have devastating consequences for jobs throughout the coal supply chain.
Hillary Clinton wants to go one step further. If elected president, she intends to suspend all new oil and natural gas leases on public lands as well. More than 21 percent of the nation’s oil and 14.1 percent of the nation’s natural gas comes from these lands. Our nation’s efforts to reduce foreign dependence on these commodities will be undermined.
The loss of jobs from this assault on fossil fuels will be horrific, particularly coal. The administration’s latest stream-protection rule could result in the loss of millions of dollars in revenue for local communities in mining areas and wipe out as many as 78,000 coal-mining jobs. State regulations already protect streams, so the federal rule will saddle coal producers with yet another layer of bureaucracy.
Nuclear energy restricted
Adding insult to injury, Obama wants to propose a $10.25 per barrel tax on oil that could literally kill the oil industry. With oil prices plummeting, companies are operating at razor-thin margins.
Not only that, nuclear power is constricted by Obama’s decision to kill the Yucca Mountain project in Nevada. Even though the Nuclear Regulatory Commission certified that the facility would be safe for thousands of years, Obama pulled the plug on the project at the behest of Nevada Sen. Harry Reid. About 75,000 metric tons of high-level radioactive waste is still being stored at nuclear plant sites around the country — and the amount is increasing by 2,000 tons annually.
We can’t just say goodbye to all our older energy industries. They make up 86 percent of our nation’s electricity production, heat our homes, and provide fuel for factories and our transportation system. And they are going to be around for a while at least until a sensible plan is adopted to phase out fossil fuels and phase in renewables. Once again I ask: Where is the plan? I have been asking for countless years and still get no answer.
See the article here.
- On February 19, 2016