As the President continues to belatedly dither on dealing with uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and other Middle Eastern hot spots, he might want to take a hard look at his energy policy or rather a lack thereof.
During the presidential campaign, he assured the American people, that he would support a comprehensive energy plan which spanned oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, bio-fuels, solar, and wind resources. To date, he and his administration have directly attacked the use of oil, coal, and nuclear while misleading the American people on green technologies such as bio-fuels, solar and wind. Recently the President said, “Because we know we can’t power America’s future on energy that’s controlled by foreign dictators”…adding, “We are taking big (green energy) steps down the road to energy independence…that can create countless well-paying jobs”.
The picture the President has painted of the benefits of green technologies do not comport with the facts of the science, technology, engineering, and economic realities of these energy sources. His vision is pure fantasy! However, he continues to commit very large subsidies to their development and continues to insist “we can double the amount of renewable energy produced over the next three years”. Currently green energies produce less than 2% of our energy requirements and have created almost no jobs while the oil and gas industry directly employs 2.1 million people.
The technology and engineering know-how to build efficient solar or wind generation facilities is 20-30 years away, maybe more. Many energy experts contend we are where Alexander Bell was when he invented the phone, or compare the vacuum tube relative to the microchip. In his book, Energy at the Crossroads, scientist Vaclav Smil stated that because of the “power density” required by solar and wind, the human footprint on the continent would have to double to supply even half of our current energy needs. To wit, wind and solar will require years of development to be made economically viable or technologically practical.
The President should be doing everything possible to expedite and streamline the regulatory process to speed the use of all forms of domestic energy, including oil, coal and nuclear. One of Obama’s favorite solar initiatives, the Calico Solar Project in the Mojave Desert, had cleared all the myriad hurdles necessary to move forward with construction (it had taken just over 2 years with admin support). Then the Sierra Club, an early proponent of the project, stepped in and sued California to block going forward. Sierra asserted stimulus money rushed regulators to approve the project and that they had discovered 10 endangered Desert Tortoises on the 4,600 acre site. Now the project and Obama is stymied by a former environmental ally.
In the Gulf of Mexico, Obama, Kenneth Salazar, and now Steven Chu are doing everything possible to ignore a Federal Court order, in fact a contempt order, to lift the moratorium on drilling. The original moratorium, scheduled to end in Nov. 2010, was based on a deliberately misleading study prepared by an appointed White House panel. The court vacated the moratorium which was replaced by a reworded new moratorium to get past the judge’s ruling. This led to Judge Feldman’s contempt order.
The President does not have an Energy Plan. If one exists it is clearly not balanced and does not include oil, nuclear or coal. Oil supply disruptions, or the fear of same, create appreciable increases in the price of gasoline. Before the Middle Eastern turmoil a gallon of gas cost $3.104, an increase of 69.6% (from $1.83) since Obama took office in Jan. 2009; since the uprisings the price has grown to $3.614 per gallon an increase of 97.3% (USEIA).
President Obama, through his inaction and fantasizing about green energies etc., has placed a “hidden” tax on all Americans, the price of a gallon of gas. His defense will be that the Middle East is causing a temporary spike, even in the face of the earlier facts. This “hidden” tax is very regressive and the poor and disadvantaged will suffer the most. If no realistic action is taken soon to promote the expeditious harvesting of all types of energy resources, maybe President Obama will be dithering in the face of a major and angry energy uprising in the United States.