President Obama announced his new policy for climate change calling for new regulations on carbon emissions. He is committing $8 billion in federal loan guarantees to encourage investment in technologies that could restrict carbon dioxide produced by power plants from being released into the atmosphere. As taxpayers, this road has been traveled on before when Obama committed $90 billion dollars to the green energy sector of this country.
Interesting to note, of the green energy companies that received these subsidies from the Obama administration, 80 percent of these companies were generous donors to the president’s campaign coffer. Also, 34 of these green companies that were offered federal support from taxpayers are faltering in some capacity – they either have gone bankrupt or they are laying off workers and/or heading into bankruptcy. So, by all means, committing another $8 billion dollars in federally backed guarantees, on the backs of the taxpayers makes perfect sense?
Obama said in his address to a crowded Georgetown University, that “we need to act now and lead a coordinated assault” on the issue of climate change. Again, Obama is committing billions of dollars to an issue that has just as many intelligent opponents saying that global warming and climate change is bogus.
As part of his speech, the president also addressed the issue of the Keystone XL pipeline. This project has been stalled within the U.S. State Department for “review." The Keystone project alone would transport more than 70,000 barrels of synthetic crude oil per day into the U.S. from the Athabasca Oil Sands in northwestern Canada. With the potential of adding 20,000 jobs to an already flailing economy, it makes little sense to delay the project.
However, the president said in his speech that the Keystone would only move forward “if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.” He continued by saying that the “net effects of the pipeline's impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward."
His concern about the Keystone “exacerbating” carbon pollution is quite confusing. Whether his issue is more emissions from transporting the resource or drilling for the resource, reducing our independence on foreign resources and protecting our national security seems to be a more vital concern than carbon emissions.
This new climate policy is about something far greater than increased carbon emissions from a coal plant or a well being drilled. This policy is about a continual push for his ‘cap and trade’ style agenda that he began pushing since the day he was elected as president. Again, taxpayers have already footed a multi-billion dollar bill for the green sector of our country. This new policy is more of the same. This policy seeks to reduce the carbon footprint on the backs of two major sectors of industry in this country: the oil and natural gas industry and the coal industry. Whether reducing carbon emissions saves the planet or not, closing down plants and encouraging our dependence on foreign resources does not seem to be the logical answer for our nation.
Don Briggs is President of the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association.