By Alan Caruba
Take heart, America! Your nation’s governors have been meeting in Philadelphia this weekend for the National Governors Association centennial meeting. From Friday through Monday they are attending various sessions that are almost all devoted to the environment.
On Saturday, America’s most famous former philanderer-in-chief, William Jefferson Clinton, gave the keynote address. When he was the Governor of Arkansas, he also had served as chairman of the NGA. I am sure it was a stirring address on one of the great mysteries of our times, why Hillary lost the nomination and how many speeches he will have to give to retire her campaign debt.
Sunday had sessions such as “Creating a Diverse Energy Portfolio” and “Options for a Secure and Affordable Energy Future.” Visions of endless windmills and acres of solar panels must sure have been the highlight of these sessions, but I doubt that a word was spoken about building any nuclear or coal-fired plants to generate electricity or the possibility of actually drilling anywhere in the United States for oil or natural gas. Well, the Governor of Alaska probably was thinking about this, but few others.
At $4-a-gallon for gasoline, I suspect there was a big banner in the conference hall that said, “We can’t drill our way out of this!” I’m not a governor, but even I know we can and we must begin to drill.
Monday’s plenary session is devoted, of course, to “Clean Energy Technology: What’s here and What’s Coming.” What's here is $4-a-gallon gasoline and what's coming is $5-a-gallon gasoline.
What’s here are some heavily subsidized wind farms that only provide a small among of electricity when the wind is blowing, and must be backed up at all times with standard generation facilities powered by coal, gas or water/hydro sources. There may even be some solar farms contributing, but their combined contribution is less than 5% of all the electricity the nation uses. The subsidies are a form of hidden taxation on consumers.
You have a choice between so-called “clean energy” or no energy if the governors don’t start endorsing the construction of a lot more plants. These plants will use either the cheapest, most abundant energy source in America, coal, or they will use nuclear energy. Thanks to Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D-NV), the nation’s nuclear plants still cannot get rid of their waste despite the fact the U.S. government has spent $7 billion for a repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, that is still not yet permitted to operate.
None of this, of course, has anything to do with providing affordable fuel for the nation’s 300 million autos, trucks, tractors, and other vehicles.
Minnesota Governor, Tim Pawlenty, this year’s chair, says, “America is ready for bold, innovative energy policies that will make us safer, more independent, and better stewards of the planet. We’ve been asleep at the switch for too long—the time for action is now.”
America’s governors are not elected to be “better stewards of the planet.” They are elected mostly to tend to matters in their own states such as appallingly bad schools, crumbling highways and bridges, attracting business and industry, and overseeing insanely bloated budgets. The occasional natural disaster gets their attention.
A word in your shell-like ear, Gov. Pawlenty; America’s governors, in addition to Congress and the White House, have been and still are a very big part of the nation’s energy problems since the 1980s.
Resisting the building of coal-fired or nuclear plants has been part of the problem. Not demanding that congressional mandates for ethanol use be rescinded is part of the problem. Opposing offshore exploration and drilling is part of the problem for governors of our coastal states and not encouraging mining and drilling for those in between is part of the problem.
Talking for three days about “clean energy” while ignoring America’s real energy problems will not solve those problems. At what point will the rest of us hear any of you discuss and act upon some real solutions?