Like a crazed serial killer, the liberal green groups are celebrating their “victory” of putting America’s major coal producers out of business — to say nothing of the tens of thousands of miners placed in unemployment lines. Several thousand more mining jobs were lost last month.
Now to get their next homicidal high, the leftists have turned their ambitions on the oil and natural gas industries.
Here is how the Sierra Club spokeswoman, Lena Moffit, explains the grand, green vision:
“We have moved to a very clear and firm and vehement position of opposing gas. We oppose any new gas-fired power plants. We also have a policy opposing fracking.”
That’s an amazing admission given that natural gas is a clean burning fuel that is reducing greenhouse gas emissions and real pollutants too. Then she admitted: “We are doing everything we can to bring the same expertise that we brought to taking down the coal industry and coal-fired power in this country to taking on gas in the same way … to ensure that we’re moving to a 100% clean energy future.”
Wow, this is the agenda of lunatics. Scarier still is that the three most prominent Democrats in America aren’t far behind in this maniacal mindset of killing domestic industries. President Obama says we have to shift to a “keep it in the ground” strategy when it comes to all fossil fuels. Bernie Sanders is the sponsor of a Senate bill that would effectively ban all oil and gas drilling on federal lands.
Hillary Clinton has announced that global warming is “the defining issue of our time” and hopes for a future when there is no drilling for oil and gas. This would end America’s access to an estimated $50 trillion of energy resources.
What if, God forbid, these politicians and environmental groups actually prevail in shutting down American oil and gas development as they have done with coal? What would it mean to the U.S. economy?
Let’s start with jobs. There are still about 250,000 Americans directly or indirectly related to the coal industry. They’re gone for sure under a Democratic administration in 2017 — with miners reassigned to new positions under comrade Clinton’s energy strategy.
But that’s a pittance compared to employment and output in the oil and gas industry. Back in 2012 Price Waterhouse completed a study (for the American Petroleum Institute) on the economic impact of American energy. It found that direct and indirect jobs related to oil and gas stood at just under 10 million. These are truckers, construction workers, petroleum engineers, welders, pipefitters, geologists, and many other hard hat workers. Many if not most are union members.
PWC also calculated that the value added to the U.S. economy from oil, gas and coal was about $1.2 trillion a year — or about 8 percent of GDP. In other words, not producing fossil fuels means our economic growth would be instantly lowered by about 8 percent which would make the last Great Recession seem like a picnic. Incidentally, the oil and gas industry also pays tens of billions of dollars in tax revenues every year — so that flow would stop too.
If you are concerned about America losing high-paying manufacturing jobs, the left’s anti-fossil fuels campaign would help finish off many of these middle class jobs and not just in oil and gas production. How are we going to produce steel, cars, air planes, chemicals, factories, and high technology products without reliable and low cost power?
Of course the make-believe answer is that we will transition to windmills and solar panels. In other words, we will shift back to the energy sources of the Middle Ages. Windmills will power our steel plants. Solar energy will electrify our factories and homes — except when the sun doesn’t shine. Germany thought they could “go green” and that strategy has raised energy prices and put the hurt to its manufacturing industries.
The lost energy employment will never be replaced with so-called “green jobs.” We already fell for that scam at the start of the Obama administration.
Even after more than $150 billion in government subsidies over the past decade, wind and solar power are so expensive and unworkable that they account for less than 4 percent of our energy supply. So somehow we are going to move from 4 percent to 100 percent green energy. In other words, we will shutdown over 90 percent of our current energy production.
Most amazing of all is that the people who believe this fairly tale are the same people who say that Donald Trump is crazy.
• Stephen Moore is an economic consultant with Freedom Works and coauthor of “Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy” (Regnery, 2016).