As Senate and House Democratic leaders double down on draconian climate alarm-premised energy regulations that will destroy millions of jobs and saddle industry and household consumers with skyrocketing prices and blackouts, some progressive incumbents and GOP challengers are pushing back from the brink of assured disaster.
One such green energy overreach agenda, a proposed “Clean Electricity Payment Program” – or CEPP – would require state and regional utilities to purchase or generate a set of additional year-on-year renewable energy targets to qualify for federal quota program handouts or face steep non-compliance fines.
Clean natural gas doesn’t get credited in this economy-crushing equation.
I had a Sept. 26 conversation with Colorado U.S. Senate candidate Erik Aadland, a West Point graduate and Iraq-Afghanistan recipient of two bronze stars – one for valor in combat – who also knows a thing or two about energy realities.
The following interview has been edited for clarity.
LB: First Erik, what motivated you to enter the race to unseat incumbent Democrat Senator Michael Bennet?
This seems like a tall order for someone with no former political experience running in a blue state that Joe Biden won with over 55% of the vote, a margin of more than 13% over Donald Trump.
EA: Larry, that’s a very fair question, one demanding a great deal of personal and family contemplation.
The simple answer is because I am not prepared to idly sit by in frustration and disgust and surrender our country or Colorado to a continuing series of terrible policy decisions that are antithetical to our constitutional freedoms in general, and to our energy-dependent economic prosperity in particular.
I come from a family that takes service to nation very seriously.
My father, a Major General, taught me the importance of duty, dedication, and discipline in facing difficult challenges.
Our American security, rights and traditions are under assault from both outside and internal tyrants.
I was in my final year at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point when our country witnessed the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
In my second tour as an Army officer in the global war on terror, I commanded a Stryker Reconnaissance Troop of 120 soldiers in Spin Boldak, Afghanistan. There I was responsible for the second largest border-crossing point between Afghanistan and Pakistan from 2009 to 2010.
The Biden administration’s disastrous and humiliating abandonment of Afghanistan, our citizens, our allies, billions of dollars of weapons, and the vitally strategic Bagram Air Base for clearly political purposes is a terrible stain on our nation.
We need leadership – not politicians – who are determined to dedicate their full attention and commitment to restoring national stability and security.
In short, that’s why I am running for the United States Senate in Colorado.
LB: Erik, you are running against a seasoned Democratic opponent, Michael Bennet.
Given that you repeatedly stress the vital importance of energy policies, how are your priorities fundamentally different than his?
EA: Yes, Larry, and that is precisely why I am running against him.
Michael Bennet is a politician who was originally appointed to his senate seat, now campaigning for a third term, with no clear policies on virtually anything other than to follow his party’s radical agendas.
With specific regard to energy, I am a strong proponent for a balanced approach, but one that puts pragmatism above climate alarm-premised Green New Deal anti-hydrocarbon hype.
Natural gas development is a vital part of achieving that balance.
We need to utilize the plentiful natural gas resources of Colorado, while strongly considering the use of nuclear power. Unfortunately, Michael Bennet and Joe Biden would have us totally dependent on unreliable, inefficient sources such as wind and solar, while ignoring technologies that drive down energy costs and provide thousands of high-paying jobs for Coloradans.
Think, for example, about the unbelievable Keystone XL pipeline cancellation fiasco where, simultaneously, the Democrats give Russia a pass to complete their Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline to Germany and have signed on to the Paris Climate agreement sham that makes it perfectly okay for China to build the equivalent of a new coal-fired power plant every week.
Meanwhile, Keystone oil continues to flow far less efficiently and environmentally responsibly by truck and train, burning energy and producing pollution, and costing tens of thousands of clean jobs in the process.
Colorado’s economy has consistently been dependent on oil and gas production to the tune of about $30 billion annually.
Nevertheless, my state’s Democrat legislature and governor are hell-bent in attempting to destroy the industry through such legislation as Colorado Senate Bill-181 which enables - and even encourages - a patchwork of local regulations that our responsible lawmakers have long attempted to avoid.
SB-181 has represented a significant bureaucratic victory for oil and gas opponents. One major structural change reduces a mostly volunteer former nine-member Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to seven full-time government employees of which five are appointed by the Governor with only one required to have industry experience.
Having served as project manager for pipelines in a massive natural gas field in Israel, I appreciate the importance of real-world knowledge in decisions that ensure a reliable flow of life-blood energy that fuels our lives and economy.
By contrast, Michael Bennet has been on the wrong side of these issues.
In 2020, my opponent joined with 11 of his Senate Democratic colleagues in urging then- President-elect Biden to repeal the Trump administration’s tariffs on imported solar cells and panels from China.
Michael Bennet has fought Trump administration rollbacks of radical climate policies—including the Paris Agreement, and has supported the Biden administration’s fantasy goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035 as part of an agenda to address the “climate crisis.”
As the only senator on both the Senate Democrats' Special Committee on the Climate Crisis and Senate Climate Solutions Caucus, Michael cast the 2017 deciding vote to place federal anti-drilling methane emission regulations on public lands.
Let’s be clear. Colorado people care deeply about the environment, as do I. But we must rise above fear-based climate propaganda.
LB: Erik, do you really believe you can win this uphill challenge?
EA: Larry, I do, because Michael Bennet and Joe Biden are hurtling Colorado and the nation on the downslope to a cataclysm of disasters: skyrocketing energy and commodity prices; a southern border catastrophe; out-of-control crime in Democrat-controlled states and cities; Marxist, racially-repugnant Critical Race Theory indoctrination of our children and military; forced experimental Covid vaccination regardless of natural immunity, health or religious conflicts; and most recently, the self-inflicted Afghanistan disaster to our national security and global trust.
Our nation is plummeting down a treacherous path to totalitarian tyranny which is antithetical to our Constitutional liberties, our American values, and our human spirit.
Larry, I am convinced we can, must, and will win this last-chance battle together.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and the graduate space architecture program. His latest of 10 books, "What Makes Humans Truly Exceptional," (2021) is available on Amazon along with all others. Read Larry Bell's Reports — More Here.
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