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Tags: bernie sanders | wrong | energy | crime

Bernie Sanders Is Wrong: Energy Is No Crime

Bernie Sanders Is Wrong: Energy Is No Crime

David Holt By Tuesday, 20 August 2019 11:33 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders declared the oil and gas industry’s economic activities “criminal” in his most recent debate appearance.

While his statement qualifies as something so outlandish that it shouldn’t merit an ounce of attention, it cannot be ignored for one important reason.

Despite what Senator Sanders thinks, accusing the energy industry – an industry without which he couldn’t get from campaign stop to campaign stop – of being a criminal enterprise further polarizes and freezes the non-partisan conversation we all need to have about solving our energy and environmental challenges.

Nothing is more important to America’s economy, our families, our small business, our blue- collar workers or our farmers than an honest, reasonable discussion about our energy and environmental futures.

The way Senator Sanders and extreme anti-energy activists see it, only one viewpoint is acceptable – the total elimination of the oil and gas industry.

The problem with that rhetoric and its unrealistic premise is that it removes the possibility of making smart, responsible choices.

Senator Sanders is dead wrong, and so are his prescriptions for our energy future. Even fellow Democratic contender Steve Bullock, Montana’s governor, called him out by pointing out how many energy industry workers have “spent their whole life powering our country.”

That’s the truth – the energy industry has provided millions of good jobs across our country, driven economic growth, given the United States energy independence and kept our daily lives running smoothly – all at some of the most affordable prices in the world.

The benefits of longstanding energy sources aren’t just limited to the economic ones they bring – despite some of the rhetoric we see in the papers, the industry is actually contributing to a cleaner environment. Natural gas, for instance, has helped the United States lead the way on emissions reductions.

We are exceeding our emissions reductions goals, with every air quality measure showing significant improvement over the past decade. And the Energy Information Administration predicts that greenhouse gas emissions will fall a further 2.2 percent this year. The United States is leading the world in overall emission reductions – proving that energy and environmental progress can go hand-in-hand.

The out-of-hand rejection of natural gas and oil infrastructure is demonstrating that it’s a choice that will cost families and business.

New England and New York residents already pay the highest average rates for electricity, in large part because of New York’s isolationist energy policy – which has rejected three desperately-needed natural gas pipelines to serve the region. This short-sighted energy policy pleases only the extreme anti-energy activists. It certainly does not benefit the residents of the Northeast and New York – who face increasing risks of blackouts, brownouts, shortages, and ever-rising energy costs.

New York’s current energy policies already have cost the state 17,000 new jobs, more than $1.6 billion in economic gains and nearly $1 billion in wages just from denying needed pipeline projects, according to a 2019 U.S. Chamber of Commerce report. And that’s before the effects of the newly announced Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), rushed through the legislature without any credible review of its economic impact, takes effect.

Plus, the decision by the city of Berkeley, Calif., to become the first U.S. community to end natural gas use in new home construction starting Jan. 1 is seen raising the price of a new home by $30,000. And that’s in a region that already has the nation’s highest housing costs, and the highest residential electricity cost after Hawaii, Alaska and New England, according to EIA data. And, at a time when our environmental goals are being met.

Consequently, Chief Executive magazine regularly ranks California and New York as the lowest-rated states for business because of higher energy costs. The either-or strategy is proving to be an economic disaster and prescription for crippling our economy with higher energy costs that no one needs, especially those with low or fixed incomes who already pay a disproportionate amount of their monthly budget toward utilities.

Either-or is not the answer. Smart, reasonable energy solutions can only become a reality if we support a responsible mix of all energy sources including traditional and renewable ones.

We need steady, always-on energy sources like natural gas to pick up the slack on the days when the sun and wind don’t provide enough power to keep the lights on. Energy diversity must be a primary goal, but not at the expense of shutting down electricity to our homes and businesses. We can and must have sensible energy policy and environmental progress.

What would be a real crime is failing to recognize that a brighter future for all of us, our environment, and our economy, requires the best spirit of American can-do and practicality: working with every asset we have to solve our challenges realistically, responsibly and fairly.

David Holt is president of the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA).

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Bernie Sanders Is Wrong: Energy Is No Crime
bernie sanders, wrong, energy, crime
Tuesday, 20 August 2019 11:33 AM
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