Larry Niven’s awesome novel Lucifer’s Hammer concluded with an amazing vignette. A leader lies dying amid the ruins of a devastated world. His followers debate whether to take over and activate a surviving nuclear power plant. The great man’s dying words resonate and should be a part of the current American Energy debate. “Give my children the lightning again.” He said as he expired.
Sadly, nearly everything we do with energy policy is a tradeoff that acknowledges risk. If we harvest energy from domestic sources we risk contaminating our environment as a negative externality. If we buy this energy abroad, we damage our fiscal position and risk growing increasingly beholden to foreign powers who do not wish America well. If we use too much less energy, we risk damaging our economic competitiveness and significantly lowering our national standard of living. Thus, energy and environmental policy becomes a difficult exercise in risk management and tradeoff. In this installment I discuss GOP Candidate’s Michele Bachmann’s plans to work through this conundrum.
Michele Bachmann addresses the issue of Affordable Energy on her Presidential Campaign Website. She begins by assailing current President Barack Obama’s policies.
When Barack Obama was inaugurated, gasoline cost $1.83 a gallon. Today, prices have more than doubled. And a major reason is this Administration’s determination to lock up and raise the price of America’s abundant energy resources.
She goes on to offer her proposals on this issue.
As President, I will work to lift the restraints that keep America from energy security. I will fight to increase access to the billions of barrels of oil and trillions of feet of natural gas on the Outer Continental Shelf and reverse the Administration’s “permatorium” in the Gulf of Mexico.
She continues with a proposal to curtail the regulatory activities of the EPA
I will stop the Environmental Protection Agency’s cap-and-trade rules in their tracks, and end this “Job Killing Agency’s” threats against our rapidly growing domestic shale gas industry and the energy and manufacturing bonanza it is offering.
Outside observers categorize Bachmann’s stance on environmental issues in a similar light. The Political Guide describes Michele Bachmann’s stance on Global Warming. “Congresswoman Bachmann does not believe in man-made global warming. She has referred to global warming as a hoax, called for more investigation, and noted that the gases being pointed at as contributing to global warming are natural byproducts.” So aside from pointing out that Congresswoman Bachmann is magnificently right, I don’t think that part of her opinions needs further commentary.
Examining the Congresswoman’s Record is not a challenge. She links Thomas from her Congressional Website and publically displays her voting record and every bill she sponsors or cosponsors. Her sponsored bills include the sadly-defeated H.R. 849: “Lightbulb Freedom of Choice Act,” which would have repealed the recent ban of incandescent lightbulbs.
Part and parcel to her quixotic, but well-intentioned quest to restore $2/gal gasoline, she co-sponsored Rep. Don Young’s “American Energy Independence and Price Reduction Act” as H.R. 49. This would have repealed the prohibition to oil and gas extraction from land within the ANWR. She also cosponsored Rep. Ted Poe’s “Ensuring Affordable Energy Act” as H.R. 153. This would ban the use of all appropriated monies to regulate Green-House Gasses from stationary sources. Neither bill has passed the house as of this date.
In conclusion, Congresswoman Bachmann wants to expand domestic energy extraction in hopes of significantly lowering energy costs that hold back the American economy. She distrusts aggressively regulatory environmental policies and openly condemns Global Warming as junk science. She has given some lip-service to alternative energy sources such as wind and solar but apparently believes oil and natural gas are far more abundant and cost-effective solutions at the present time. She doesn’t seem to have addressed the issue of OPEC in her present campaign material.
She has not significantly engaged environmental issues at the present beyond her condign disdain for the pseudo-scientific games of Numerical Dungeons and Dragons that the UN IPCC has played with climate models. She apparently believes the regulatory costs of the legislative solutions to Global Warming are far too high to justify enactment. She doesn’t actually believe the scientific community has adequately justified the regulation of Green House Gasses.
Candidate Michele Bachmann advertises herself as a proponent of the energy industry and opponent of costly environmental regulation. That would accurately describe her legislative and voting record as well. With Congresswoman Bachmann you get exactly what you see on issues of Energy and the Environment.