The supporters of global warming met in Washington, D.C. on February 17, 2013 to pressure President Obama to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. The irony was evident to the rest of us. The green environmentalists were bundled up to their eyeballs since it was the coldest day this winter, 16 degrees Fahrenheit if you factored in the wind chill.
Protesters claim that oil sands, fracking, fossil fuels, and especially “dirty” coal are the enemy of ordinary Americans while the same Americans are fed up with paying unnecessary high prices for gasoline and electricity when our country has such vast resources of oil and natural gas that are not being tapped.
I wonder if Europeans knew in 1300-1850 that their Little Ice Age was caused by human activity since global warming alarmists were not around to inform them and force them to change their planet-altering life-style.
In the Blitzkrieg of constant manufactured crises, the media machine is deflecting people’s attention from the real issues affecting our country. Everyone is overwhelmed by a never-ending string of real and imagined catastrophic occurrences. Citizens seem to have lost the ability to judge for themselves and discern truth from fiction.
Bombarded by a deluge of MSM propaganda, low information Americans believed that the passengers suffering inconveniences caused by a disabled cruise ship that had lost its power for five days was akin to hurricane Katrina suffering. Can we have a reality check?
If power outage disabled such a large ship, have irrational lefties asked themselves what would happen to a major city if a massive electricity shortage caused the power to go out for days, weeks, and months? Would solar panels and wind mills restore electricity, clean water, sanitation, sewage disposal, heat, A/C, and normalcy to the city? How many people would die from pestilence alone?
The environmentalists demand that the “evil” coal-powered plants be shut down, and many have been shut down, because coal destroys the planet. A large portion of our electricity does come from “dirty” coal. Beloved hybrids and electric cars need fossil fuels and electricity generated by coal, hydro, and nuclear power plants, another industry that progressives want shut down.
Then there is the filthy little secret of solar-generated energy. It may be cleaner than coal-generated energy, however, in the production process, solar panel manufacturers create millions of pounds of contaminated water and toxic sludge which must be transported and disposed of hundreds of miles away.
The hazardous waste disposal costs (transportation via rail or trucks which burn fossil fuels) is not included or calculated in the solar panels carbon footprint. The polluted sludge is shipped because new solar panel manufacturers have not built facilities to recycle part of the sludge and to dispose of the carcinogenic cadmium properly.
Dustin Mulvaney, an “environmental studies professor who conducts carbon footprint analyses of solar, biofuel and natural gas production,” calculated that shipping 6.2 million pounds of waste by eighteen wheelers from California to a site 1,800 miles away would add 5 percent in carbon footprint.
Jason Dearen, of the Associated Press, compiled a list of 41 California manufacturers of solar panels and reported that no such data exists at the federal level.
“The state records show the 17 companies, which had 44 manufacturing facilities in California, produced 46.5 million pounds of sludge and contaminated water from 2007 through the first half of 2011. Roughly 97 percent of it was taken to hazardous waste facilities throughout the state, but more than 1.4 million pounds were transported to nine other states: Arkansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Rhode Island, Nevada, Washington, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona.” (Jason Dearen)
Does creating 100 Megawatt of energy to power 100,000 homes (as the now bankrupt Solyndra did) balance out the 12.5 million pounds of hazardous waste that could seep into our drinking water? Yet Mulvaney said that coal-fired plants and natural gas plants create more than ten times the hazardous waste created by a solar panel.
One problem not addressed in calculations is the fact that solar panels need thousands of acres of land to display them, land that cannot be used for agriculture. Wind energy generation is problematic because huge wind mills kill a lot of birds and the noise pollution created is unbearable and unacceptable in populated areas when the wind exceeds 30 mph. Wind mills do not create electricity when idle and need back up from conventional power just like solar panels.
This brings me back to the war on coal waged by environmentalists and their powerful lobby. In 2012, the electricity generated from coal was 36% compared to the previous year of 44.6%, a considerable drop caused by the unprecedented regulatory assault on coal.
PJM Interconnection, which operates power for 13 states (Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia), held its 2015 capacity auction.
President Obama’s promise that “electricity prices will necessarily skyrocket” is coming to fruition. According to A.J. Cameron, “The market-clearing price for new 2015 capacity – almost all natural gas – was $136 per megawatt,” eight times higher than the 2012 price of $16 per megawatt. New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and D.C. price is $167 per megawatt. First Energy’s price in northern Ohio is $357 per megawatt. Ohio has more forced coal-fired plants shutdowns thus the higher price.
Why are prices so much higher? Andy Ott of PJM explains, “Capacity prices were higher than last year’s because of retirements of existing coal-fired generation resulting largely from environmental regulations which go into effect in 2015.”
The Environmental Protection Agency regulators are winning the war on coal and most Americans are going to suffer, including the clueless greens.
“The PJM auction forecasts a dim future where Americans will be paying more to keep the lights on. We are seeing more and more coal plants fall victim to EPA’s destructive regulatory agenda, and as a result, we are seeing more job losses and higher electricity prices.” (Ed Whitfield, House Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman)
British Petroleum published a report with projection of long-term energy trends, “Energy Outlook 2030,” in which it predicted that the United States will be 99 percent energy self-sufficient by 2030 due to shale gas and oil produced by hydraulic fracturing. “It could result in a re-industrialization of the U.S.” Being more skeptical, I believe that it could happen if the EPA would lessen its onerous regulatory stronghold on economic development.
“The natural gas boom in America will also lead to a significant reduction in greenhouse gases, since natural gas-fired power plants produce around half as much carbon emissions as coal-fired plants, and just 1 percent as much sulfur oxide.” (Newsmax, February 3, 2013)
As long as the President is in brilliant campaign mode, he can divorce himself from reality and pretend he is trying to solve the very problems he has created by blaming President Bush and the rich and greedy people. He has not solved any problems but has been quite successful in convincing a majority of Americans that he has. In the meantime, progressives push renewables and the misery and costly war on coal continues.
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Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh, Romanian Conservative is a freelance writer, author, radio commentator, and speaker. Her books, “Echoes of Communism”, “Liberty on Life Support” and “U.N. Agenda 21: Environmental Piracy,” “Communism 2.0: 25 Years Later” are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle.
Her commentaries reflect American Exceptionalism, the economy, immigration, and education.Visit her website, ileanajohnson.com
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