This blog could start with any number of titles “Energy Politics Will Do US In Yet”, No Increase in Capacity As Energy Demand Grows”; these articles in the WSJ describing the rise of energy prices while our leftist or week-kneed politicians cave in to the screeches of the radical environmentalists. Demand for natural gas has more than doubled in the last two decades while production increased by only 1% since 1996. Yet drillers are blocked by not only our own government but by lawsuits filed by environmental radicals. Even when access is granted, drillers are faced with such hurdles as complying with the Endangered Species Act; this act alone causes billions of dollars lost to taxpayers and the economy. Lawsuits, easy to file by the NIMBY and radical environmentalist ilk, prevent any progress in development to be made for up to decades.
In Maryland, retail electricity prices are increasing 72% on July 1. Deregulation made no actual provision for increasing energy supply and the market has been effectively blocked by NIMBY activists and weak governmental control. No generation capacity has been added anywhere in the U.S. in decades with the exception of gas turbines which have been rendered uneconomical by the spike in natural gas prices.
The radical environmentalists used lawsuits decades ago to shut down further nuclear energy development and have continued to employ them to block development ever since. However, efforts of the current administration have caused the recent easing of opposition to nuclear power and open the door for renewed construction of nuclear plants in the U.S. but it will take years to even begin to get new power from these plants that will not even be built by the end of this decade. George Melloan of the WSJ wrote on 1/24/06, “In the meantime, we must start removing many restrictions on the devolvement of more conventional sources such as oil and gas, but politicians of the left are meddling with the current energy crisis all the while proclaiming that nukes will save us in the distant future.”
So while most everyone complains about rising energy costs that we begrudgingly pay, we should put the blame not on private enterprise but on weak national governmental policies, many of them of the Clinton and Kennedy eras, and on the radical environmentalist who would like to see us return our country to the 1600’s. Unfortunately, the Republicans have their share of politicians who are swayed by emotion and the next election, rather than facts available.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 passed by congress, even with all its flaws, is designed to strengthen our nation’s electrical infrastructure, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, increase conservation and expand the use of renewable energy. However, neither windmills nor ethanol could make it on their own without substantial subsidies from the taxpayer. These expensive alternates are at best temporary until new clean nuclear power plants come on-line in the next couple of decades.