Rising Support for Energy Development Scares Some People

A recent Pew Research poll showed rising public support for domestic energy exploration and development, including drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. The widely reported survey results were just the latest evidence that high energy prices — gasoline, especially — have focused the public’s mind on the laws of supply and demand.

The political world is responding, too, as this story in Politico reports: “Back from an Independence Day recess that saw gas prices peak at more than $4.10 per gallon, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that he’s hoping to entice a handful of Democrats to join him in supporting more domestic drilling, and an aide to Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) said it may be time for a new “Gang of 14” to break through the partisan impasse on energy issues.” Read that story with this other Politico piece — Dems’ new gas-pump villain: Speculators — and you get a good sense of the state of play on Capitol Hill.

Now we have any more evidence of the public’s increasing receptiveness to drilling, an anxious, even hostile reaction from green groups.

In an e-mail to a list originally developed in conjunction with the Live Earth concert — when was that, anyway? — the CEO of the normally mild-mannered, encouraging, sensitive group, We — or WeCanSolveIt.org — rails against the energy companies.

This is silly. Once again, we’re being held hostage by the big energy companies, and we’re paying for it at the pump. Some people think more drilling is going to help, but that sort of flawed thinking is what got us into this mess to begin with. Instead of prolonging our addiction to oil, we need to look beyond fossil fuels and invest in new solutions. It’s time to get real about our energy options.

Why remain captive to skyrocketing fuel prices when we can develop an economy based on efficient transportation and clean, free sources of energy (like the sun and wind)?

Silly, eh?

And the punchline: “We are a great country — with fantastic resources — and we will not be held hostage by dirty energy companies.”

It’s very much out of character, the tone. (The magical thinking about “free sources of energy” is completely in character, though.) It’s as if the group sees its moral high ground eroding to the reality of high energy prices.

Or perhaps the erosion is in its fundraising ability.

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