The president promised to “transform America.”
As part of that transformation, Obama proposed to reduce the use of cheap oil, natural gas and coal by raising the price of these energy sources through regulation and taxation until consumers used less. Simultaneously, the federal government would subsidize wind, solar and geothermal to create “green” jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
The primary push behind these policies was Obama’s belief in the radical environmentalists’ notion that use of traditional fuels was changing the climate. During the 2008 campaign, Obama admitted that electricity rates for every consumer would “necessarily skyrocket” under his plan.
(Earth to Obama: Methane gas is 30 times more a greenhouse gas than CO2. More methane is naturally leaking from the Arctic Ocean floor today than CO2 from human sources.)
The political wheels are coming off this goofy energy plan.
Last week, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., submitted legislation that would stop the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions for two years. This would stop the EPA from imposing a “cap-and-trade” tax on energy while legislation authorizing “cap and trade” is stalled in Congress because of overwhelming public opposition.
Also last week, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., rallied Democrats to urge the president to suspend federal stimulus grants to renewable energy developers after Schumer learned that wind turbines and solar panels are largely made in China and Japan and that many of these “developers” are foreign companies “stimulating” jobs overseas.
With foreign oil dependency increasing, Obama is reportedly ready to use the 1906 Antiquities Act to designate another 10 million acres of public land in western states “historic” and off limits to promising oil drilling. Members of Congress have called for hearings.
Meanwhile, North Dakota boasts an unemployment rate just over 4 percent because oil drilling on private lands in the “Baaken formation” is starting to yield the first of billions of barrels of new oil creating thousands of new jobs. As many as 72,000 well paying jobs in Louisiana have been attributed to offshore drilling there – drilling Obama has banned in offshore California, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the East Coast states.
Even more damaging, Obama last week canceled the Yucca Mountain, Nev., project, on which $10 billion has been spent constructing a safe storage deep underground for nuclear waste from 104 U.S. nuclear plants.
Under federal and (most) state laws, no safe storage of the nuclear waste means no more nuclear power plants. Two months before, in the State of the Union speech, Obama called for a “new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants” to create “clean energy jobs.” Which is it? Was the SOU call for more nuclear power plants just another Obama head fake?
Obama’s energy secretary, Steven Chu, joined other scientists supporting Yucca Mountain before he joined the Obama Cabinet. Now he supports cancellation, citing unspecified “better alternatives.” Where? Dr. Chu participated in the years-long search for a safe storage location which chose Yucca Mountain in the first place back in the Clinton years.
Obama and Nevada’s Sen. Harry Reid, anticipating the blowback from their abrupt and illogical cancellation of a facility crucial to their effort to “save the planet” by reducing CO2 emissions, promised a “blue ribbon commission” to develop the “alternatives.” But that promise was made nearly a year ago. No “commission” has been appointed. News reports state that qualified potential commission members have refused to rule out Yucca Mountain.
Congress passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, or NWPA, in 1982. Utility companies using nuclear power are assessed every year under NWPA to pay for long-term safe storage of nuclear waste from the plants. The utilities have passed this cost on to us – the rate payers. Some $770 million will be collected this year, and the companies have written Dr. Chu asking for a halt to the assessment and a refund of past monies assessed if no storage is going to be built.
In the final blow to common sense, under federal environmental law, cancellation of Yucca Mountain requires the government to restore the mountain and the surrounding desert to its original state. The government has dug a ditch and will now just fill it in again – all at our expense. Are these the “jobs saved or created”? We might as well build pyramids.
One of the “alternatives touted by the anti-nuke crowd is “re-processing” the spent nuclear fuel from power plants. France is often cited as an example. The DOE website says, “France reprocesses its own spent nuclear fuel. … the waste is vitrified (solidified) and stored in La Hague (in pools) for several decades, where it awaits final geologic disposal.” In other words, France ultimately also uses underground storage for its spent nuclear fuel.
But where do the French find this “geologic disposal”?
According to University of Florida professor Yogi Goswami, in a speech in December 2007, the French store some of their nuclear waste in South Carolina! More alarming yet, the Inter Press Service News Agency reported last week that France sends “thousands of tonnes of nuclear waste to Russia each year … to store (it) in extremely contaminated sites in Siberia.” The report claims this has secretly been going on for more than 30 years.
Contradictory policies, regulatory overreach, energy price uncertainty, questionable science – Obama’s energy “plan” stifles the economy with uncertainty, creates new jobs in foreign countries, blocks the development of the nuclear power alternative, drives up the price of electricity and leaves our country more dependent on foreign oil. What could be worse?