Streetwise Professor

November 19, 2011

Energy in the Executive Stymies Energy In America

Filed under: Economics,Energy,Politics,Regulation — The Professor @ 9:00 am

The last 10 days have seen events that illustrate the idiotic alpha and omega of the Obama administration’s energy policy.  These tell you everything you need to know about its complete inversion of priorities, and its utter incomprehension of how energy, markets, and government work–or don’t.

On the one hand, there is the Congressional testimony of Energy Secretary Steven Chu defending the $500 million plus Solyndra debacle, news about a Kennedy company with equally illusory prospects receiving a federal loan guarantee almost three times as large, and reports that 80 percent of Department of Energy “green energy” loans went to Obama donors.

On the other, there is the administration’s delay in approving the Keystone XL pipeline, and yesterday’s announcement that the USDA was imposing a six month delay on auctioning shale gas properties in the Wayne National Forest in Ohio to further “study” the surface impacts of hydraulic fracking.

Note the contrast.

On the one hand: An unshakable commitment to throw vast sums of money extracted by coercion from American citizens at delusional, patently uneconomic projects that will produce little energy, and which just oh-so-coincidentally (It is a coincidence!  Really! Chu says so!) happen to be owned by Obama donors.

On the other hand: Using every regulatory power available to stymie the investment of private capital freely provided in economically viable projects that will produce large amounts of energy now and into the future, pursuant to highly speculative–and dubious–theories about the environmental impact of these projects.

The mental vacuum in which these environmental impacts are conceived is beyond belief.  Are trade-offs considered?  Surely you jest.  In the case of Keystone, for instance, the administration did not give the slightest inkling that it had considered the George Bailey question: What would happen if Keystone was not born?  Would there be a greater reliance on the use of seaborne oil transportation, which is far more environmentally risky than pipeline transport?  Would it result in greater off-shore oil production in the Gulf?  (You’d think that the Mocondo experience would make that a particularly salient issue to an allegedly environmentalist administration.  You’d be wrong.)  Would it result in the building of a pipeline in other environmentally sensitive areas (e.g., the Canadian Rockies), over which the oil would be transported and then put on environmentally riskier tankers?

In other words, lavishing billions on unicorn fantasies flogged by political and ideological allies, and throwing regulatory roadblock after regulatory roadblock at real, viable projects.  And both the lavishing and the blocking based on literally incredible environmental theories.

In Federalist #70, Alexander Hamilton extolled “energy in the executive.”  In the past days we have seen an executive devoting all its energies, positive and negative, to pushing some projects that will produce no energy, and to thwarting others that will.   An energetic twofer: they will make us poorer, by making energy more expensive, and they will not help the environment–and will quite plausibly make the environment worse.

That kind of energy we can very much do without.

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  1. A/K was right about one thing: the Reich is returning.

    “Amazingly, every single year since 1972 saw fewer babies born in West Germany than in 1946, just one year after a crushing defeat and military occupation (the equivalent year for East Germany is 1990).” Apparently S/O is a kinda Spengler.

    Comment by Mr. X — November 19, 2011 @ 12:52 pm

  2. @Mr. X–I will post on the alleged return of the Reich tonight or tomorrow.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — November 19, 2011 @ 1:12 pm

  3. @Mr. X–you may find this of interest.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — November 19, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

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