Feb 7, 2010
Just who in Washington is holding back on Economic Recovery?
SPECIAL INTERESTS...and there's a bunch of them!
We have the power to tap vast shale gas reserves that lie under our feet through large swaths of America, but special interest groups aligned with the Democratic Party are trying to frustrate plans to bring this cheap, plentiful, and clean energy to the surface.
We are the Saudi Arabia of shale gas. The potential is enormous. Already, landowners and states have benefited from royalty payments. Hard-hit communities are experiencing an economic revival. Small business, people looking for jobs, community centers, fire departments, and schools have all been beneficiaries.
More importantly, Americans have all benefited from low natural gas prices because of the bonanza of shale gas that has just begun to come our way. The talk of the need to build giant, expensive liquefied natural gas ports has ended. Threats of a natural gas cartel formed by our adversaries are just so much gaseous talk. Our national security has been bolstered (if Europe taps their own substantial shale gas reserves, the threats from Iran, Russia, and Algeria will be empty). Even the Russians are fretting about our fracking, expressing concern that this revolutionary development will weaken their own power. There is so much shale gas waiting to be tapped that the dream of natural gas-powered vehicles can very well reach fruition.
Who could possibly want to throw a wrench into these bright prospects?
Low shale gas prices create a problem for the renewable energy industry and for the promoters of solar, bio-fuels, and wind power.
These alternative energy sources all have problems associated with them. They are vastly more expensive than gas. For example, generating a megawatt-hour of electricity using natural gas costs $80; with wind it would cost $142, and solar would cost $396. Wind power is intermittent, interferes with birds, and is terribly inefficient; ironically, wind farms often must be backed up with natural gas-powered plants. Solar farms have a huge footprint and must be located in sunny areas; huge transmission lines trigger the NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) reflex. Ethanol, created by refining corn, has caused a spike in food prices, may require more energy to produce than it creates, and depletes aquifers (corn is a thirsty crop).
Even nuclear power, recently touted by Barack Obama as a way to bolster his political prospects, has no chance of meeting our energy needs. Even if any plants are able to navigate through all the obstacles that have prevented the building of any new nukes for decades, they will take additional decades to go online -- if ever -- and will merely replace the old nuclear power plants being decommissioned.
The technology to meet our energy demands is just not there; but for shale gas production, the technology is ready to go and being used today.
Unlike shale gas that fills the coffers of communities and state governments, all those renewable ventures consume our tax dollars. They could not survive on their own merits. They get billions in grants, subsidies, and tax breaks. The clean-energy industry is among the biggest winners among stimulus money recipients. The windfall? Over thirty billion dollars (and counting), including millions flowing to a geothermal-drilling technology company that has its address at an empty office. Ethanol and bio-fuels get subsidies that, measured on a per-unit-of-energy basis, are 190 times any subsidies given to oil and gas, and the subsidies given to the former are on the way up, while the latter are on the way down. California force-feeds utilities renewable electricity at a price five times more than the current price of electricity.
Democrats pass mandates requiring that a percentage of power be generated by renewable sources, and they force utility companies to buy power from renewable producers at vastly inflated prices. Green jobs are absurdly expensive to generate; studies have shown that for every "green job" created by artificial subsidies, more than two jobs are lost in the real world. Most such green jobs are temporary. Barack Obama's dream to have them filled with felons reveals an agenda at work that has little to do with energy. Green jobs are just another government boondoggle.
Meanwhile, in the real world, Americans who hold acreage in the vast lands above shale gas fields are enjoying having their retirement needs met and their dreams of affording college for their kids and grandchildren fulfilled. Many of them are elderly farmers and are otherwise hard-hit. Should their dreams be denied so that well-connected venture capitalists and their political pals can become enriched with taxpayer dollars?
The federal government, under Barack Obama and his Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, is busy clamping down on leasing of lands with shale gas potential, toughening drilling rules, and imposing a bevy of taxes that will be recycled into subsidies and grants to their partners in the "renewable energy" racket. While he is turning off homegrown energy, Obama is helping China develop its own shale gas potential with technology developed by the American energy companies he wants to hinder.
Perhaps Barack Obama really is a true believer in climate change (despite the cascade of news stories showing it to be snake oil). Maybe we can nickname him President Moonbeam. Perhaps he just wants to punish Big Oil and Gas, many of whom are headquartered in that red state of Texas. Or perhaps there is an ulterior motive. When campaign time comes, the tax dollars gifted to the executives and venture capitalists behind these endeavors will be recycled back into the Democrats' campaign coffers -- one recycling program that does work all too well. Barack Obama was the top recipient of campaign funds from both alternative energy and environmentalists, and received two million dollars from the agribusiness sector (that includes ethanol producers) during his presidential run.
Robbing Peter to pay off Paul is not a path to prosperity.
Who pays the price for this obstructionism? America does. We have the ability to remake the energy profile of our nation, keep our homes warm, our factories buzzing, and our cars fueled up -- all with clean energy liberated from the rocks beneath our feet. All with our own technology. But not if the enemies of cheap natural gas have their way.
So, are you wondering who stands in the way or who the people arwho stand to fill their pockets? and.... Why Man-made climate change is not happening around the world, but it is happening in Washington? Read Ed Lasky's article @ ...
When history is discussed in the future, I'm sure the USA will be impossible to comprehend. By not developing our own energy supplies, we are setting ourselves up for economic disaster and possibly worse. Why are we trading boatloads of money for boatloads of oil? We could develop a cheap and reliable infrastructure keeping our wealth and building a stronger economy. The things that could be accomplished by America are easy to imagine. What will we do if we find ourselves cut off from the global sources? I think someone intends for us to find out, but then it will be too late.
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