The reason most often cited for the success of the nonpolitical candidates is the frustration with Washington; the sense that the system is broken. Voters feel that we have no control and that government has gone wild. Even people who don’t watch the news or closely follow politics are aware of the “overreach.” It seems that, perhaps, the messages the outsiders have been heralding on the trail has caught on.
Congress has taken action that actually advances free markets and limits government intrusion. I was in the room when, on September 17, the House Energy and Commerce Committee—with bipartisan support—advanced legislation to lift the 1970s-era ban on crude-oil exports. HR 702, “To adapt to changing crude oil market conditions,” is expected to receive a full floor vote within a matter of weeks.
Germany and the United States are embarking on two drastically different energy policies, and these countries are reaping dramatically different results. In Germany, the government devised a top-down plan called Energiewende, a term meaning “turn” or “revolution,” intended to make Germany the renewable-energy center of the world. The United States has experienced its own energy revolution thanks to hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” which has transformed our nation into the largest producer of oil and natural gas in the world in spite of, not because of, the federal government.
Paring it down to size will require a death by a thousand cuts, which, in environmental and energy policy, may have begun with the passage of the Cromnibus budget bill in late 2014. The Cromnibus might mark the beginning of a slow reduction of the federal government’s overreach in environmental issues.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s new Clean Power Plan (CPP) requires that states reduce their electric utility sector carbon dioxide emissions an average of 32% below 2005 levels by 2030. EPA twisted 80 words in the Clean Air Act into 1,560 pages of regulations (plus appendices) demanding that utilities return CO2 emissions almost to 1975 levels, while our population grows by 40 million.
When you read a headline such as one from CNBC touting “Solar power’s stunning growth,” realize that it’s thanks to you—even if you’ve never even thought of putting solar panels on your roof or live in an apartment where you couldn’t install them if you wanted to. If you live in the United States, vote, pay taxes, and get your electricity from a utility company, you’ve helped the solar power industry. You support the solar industry through a variety of tax and regulatory policies—voted in by politicians you elected—that favor it over other lower-cost forms of electricity generation.
Congress concocted the mandates over fears that US gasoline demand would rise forever and keep the United States dependent on foreign oil, as America’s supposedly limited reserves were depleted. The mandates currently require that we blend 15 billion gallons of ethanol with gasoline every year, and produce over a billion gallons of biodiesel. They hammer us consumers every time we fill our tanks.
If you live in the United States, vote, pay taxes, and get your electricity from a utility company, you’ve helped the solar power industry. You support the solar industry through a variety of tax and regulatory policies—voted in by politicians you elected—that favor it over other lower-cost forms of electricity generation.
Alt-energy/transport-tech CEO Elon Musk and his trio of companies (Tesla, SolarCity and SpaceX) didn’t cooperate with the Los Angeles Times on its article that tabulated his businesses’ whopping sum of corporate welfare ($4.9 billion), and he was predictably miffed by the (accurate) portrayal.
Everyone who owns a car, truck, tractor, quad bike, bobcat, forklift or other mobile machine is hoping that the fortune being wasted on green energy may produce just one real benefit – better batteries. We want batteries that are cheap, light weight, charge quickly with no losses, last forever and store a large quantity of energy. Nothing close is on the market yet.
Early in the new millennium, oil prices began to rise and natural gas prices shot up. Doomsayers lacking an understanding of history and economics popped up, as they always do, to proclaim the end of cheap oil was nigh. “Peak oil” pundits ruled the airwaves and editorial pages.
While President Obama promotes renewable energy and members of Congress argue about energy policy, a renewable energy disaster is unfolding in Europe. Driven by a desire to halt climate change, Europe has created a high-cost energy system where everyone loses. U.S. policy leaders should learn from the debacle occurring overseas.
In March 2009 while the Environmental Protection Agency was rushing to fulfill a presidential campaign pledge to document that carbon dioxide (CO2) and five other greenhouse gases endangered public health and the environment, a longtime employee, Alan Carlin, put out a 93-page report challenging the science being cited and the drift of the agency from its initial role to one captured by fanatical activists and alarmists, treating environmentalism more as a religion than based in science.
Throughout the United States, especially in communities with existing or potential oil-and-gas development, outside groups have moved in with a vengeance and agitated the population—resulting in bans against all exploration for hydrocarbons and/or the use of hydraulic fracturing. Expensive lawsuits have been filed and courts have repeatedly declared such bans as “unconstitutional.” The newest domino to fall is in Texas where Governor Greg Abbott, on May 18, signed House Bill 40 (HB40)—also known as the Denton Fracking Bill—which clarifies that an “oil and gas operation is subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the state.”
In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, Managing Editor of Environment & Climate News H. Sterling Burnett speaks with Lindsay Leveen. Leveen runs a groundbreaking, award-winning, news blog called Green Explored. Burnett and Leveen discuss Bloom Energy.
In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, Managing Editor of Energy & Climate News H. Sterling Burnett speaks with Greg Walcher. Walcher is president of the Natural Resources Group and a Heartland policy advisor. Walcher discusses his forthcoming paper, “Not Ready Yet: Why Homeowners Still Find Solar Power Too Expensive, Unreliable, Inefficient, and Undependable.”
In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, Managing Editor of Environment & Climate News H. Sterling Burnett speaks with Michi Iljazi. Iljazi is the communications and policy manager for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance. The Taxpayers Alliance has a subsidiary called SolarSecrets.org which is dedicated, in their words, to “shining a light on the darker side of solar power.”
Pope Francis plans to deliver an encyclical on climate change this summer. To pave the way and outline the Pope’s positions, the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences is holding a workshop on the topic, April 28 in Rome. The Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and Heartland Institute will be there.
In Today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, Director of Communications Jim Lakely speaks with the Managing Editor of Environment and Climate News H. Sterling Burnett. Burnett and Lakely discuss a variety of environmental topics.