The Environmental Movement and the High Cost of Energy

By October 10, 2005Energy

As we’ve noted in this space before, the government’s own Energy Information Administration has predicted that energy costs will continue to soar in the months ahead. The cost for people to stay warm this winter in the Northeast and the Midwest are expected to be nothing short of astronomical, a burden that falls disproportionately on the poor and middle class. Because we can see this storm cloud coming (in fact, it’s already here), we just wanted to remind everyone that this country’s energy policy has been held hostage for years by a small band of extreme environmentalists:

— They have discouraged the use of coal in spite of the fact that our clean coal technology leads the world and in spite of the fact that our coal reserves exceed (in BTU’s) all the world’s oil reserves;

— They’ve resisted the development of nuclear power. We’ve not built a nuclear plant in this country since the 70’s. France gets over 80% of its power from nuclear. They’ve built 58 nuclear plants since the 70’s.

— There are about 50 liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in the world. Exactly 5 are in the US. (Japan has 23.) The permitting process for building them here is both cumbersome and expensive.

— Environmentalists have resisted further exploration in the Outer Continental Shelf and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a parcel the size of the state of South Carolina, where drilling will occur in a footprint the size of Dulles Airport. What’s their plan?

At the end of the day, the law of supply and demand prevails. We’re still the only country that limits access to its own natural resources. If your blood pressure’s low, go ahead and check out the website from the National Resources Defense Council. You’ll find them suspiciously short of solutions. They only carp about efforts to increase the supply of energy and urge energy efficiency. We agree that we have to push energy efficiency — manufacturers are the world’s leaders in doing so — but at the end of the day, it’s not a panacea. We must do that in conjunction with finding new technology and new sources of energy.

So this winter, if you’re freezing in your house or apartment, if your energy bill is costing more than your food bill, let’s not forget to give credit where credit is due: Thank an environmentalist.