The energy contradictions continue almost on a daily basis. The Biden administration continues its attack on fossil fuels. Actions include limiting and or stopping oil and gas production on federal lands, rescinding oil and gas leases in the Artic and Gulf of Mexico. It has suggested that the EPA remove compressed Natural Gas vehicles from the category of alternative fuels, even though it is much cleaner fuel. It is prepared to issue an executive order mandating that fifty percent of all vehicles be electric or fuel cell vehicles by 2030. It proposes excessive subsidies to support solar and wind energy production. It has some totally grandiose and nonspecific plan to retrain energy workers. Tell that to Pennsylvania Greene County coal miners whose income approaches six figures or gas pipeline and drilling professionals and highly skilled gas work force in the field. The attitude that the answer to global climate problems is shutting down production of domestic oil and gas seem somewhat absurd. Again the Utica and Marcellus gas fields represent some of the most abundant and lowest cost energy sources in the world. At the same time the president beseeches OPEC + to increase oil production. According to US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan “President Biden has made it clear that he wants American to have access to affordable and reliable energy, including at the pump,” In a statement Mr. Sullivan urged OPEC and its allies led by Russia to further unwind production costs -and fast.“ While Quote.
As we race to embrace renewable and alternative fuels many fail to recognize these and other contradictions. They rush to manufacture batteries and solar panels out of rare earth metals and materials. A seemingly simple solution except the rare earth materials will be sourced in huge mining operations in China and the developing world. Will the Green Team request environmental ethical certificates from these producers certifying environmental integrity as they drive their electric cars around town. Most likely the vehicle will be powered by electric power generated from a natural gas power plant. How will they ethically evaluate their carbon footprint? A recent report Mines, Minerals, and Green Energy: A Reality Check is an in depth study on the projected impact as the earth is scoured for these minerals, the report authored by Mark P. Mills a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a member of the faculty of Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. The report brings sobering reality to the huge increase in mining and the lack of recyclability of batteries, solar panels and wind turbines. All of these concerns are glossed over in distorted exaggerated claims of the Green Teams 100% renewable.
On the state front Governor Wolf advances Pennsylvania joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas initiative “RGGI”. On Wednesday the States “independent” panel the Independent Regulatory Review Commission voted 3 to 2 in favor of Pennsylvania becoming the eleventh member of the group. The vote was basically along party lines, with two democratic sponsored members joining the commission in early 2021. Again Pennsylvania is the only state that is joining RGGI without legislative approval. No surprise that this independent panel would decide in Wolf’s favor. On Thursday the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee chaired by Butler legislator Daryl Metcalf voted disapproval of the recent Environmental Quality Boards approval of RGGI and the IRRC action on Wednesday.
As the story unfolds here is something to ponder. What if the warming of the earth temperatures is part of a long protracted weather cycle in which human activity is not a major cause? Yes to limit pollution is truly laudable and certainly is a healthy endeavor. To seek to preserve species, limit waste and manage resources to be as the Christian bible extols good stewards.
But not to quiet the voices of alarm but call into question this attitude that the human activity has such significance and we are so self-important that if we do not act the world faces catastrophe, and human race extinction. Dooms day is an overrated lamentation of hopelessness which has become part of the green hysteria. Perhaps again we need a sensible long term plan that balances short and long term costs and our quality of life.