Our friends at Power Line host a guest essay from Senator John Cornyn this morning on energy policy. Cornyn warns that policymakers have put America in an “irrational box”, and that Democratic leadership wants to keep us there:
The U.S. is well on the way toward transitioning away from over-reliance on fossil fuels. I’m for pursuing every source of energy out there – solar, nuclear, clean coal, wind, biofuels, hydrogen, shale. We need it all. But we’ve built up an infrastructure over 100 years that must be relied upon as we make the change to renewable sources. Congress has to get out of the way and allow the U.S. to develop its resources for that infrastructure – or we’re headed towards economic catastrophe.
As John notes, a number of Democratic officeholders have heard from their constituents, and they want to vote to expand energy exploration. But their leadership is making sure they cannot. You can feel the Democratic solidarity on this fragmenting. One of two scenarios is likely. Either the leadership wakes up and allows expanded development – in Alaska, outer continental shelf, shale – or I suspect Republicans are going to do a great deal better in this fall’s elections than most pundits now assume.
Maybe both? If the Democrats wait much longer, action may not save them from backlash at the polling booth this year, although Republicans had better set their expectations low in any case. And the legislature may not be the only problem, as HA reader Roger B points out:
A federal judge has overturned a decision by the U.S. Forest Service to allow oil and gas drilling near a forest and a river in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula.
U.S. District Judge David Lawson of Detroit ruled Thursday the agency had acted “arbitrarily and capriciously” in 2005 by giving Savoy Energy LP of Traverse City a permit to drill an exploratory well near the Au Sable River’s south branch. …
But the judge ruled the Forest Service didn’t consider how degrading the area could harm tourism, and said the agency did a “woefully inadequate” job of evaluating how the drilling might affect the Kirtland’s warbler, an endangered songbird that nests in the area.
This case had a couple of complications. First, the land had been granted to the state on the condition that it be maintained as a wilderness. However, the federal government owned the mineral rights to the area and had leased it to an oil company. Savoy wanted to clear 3.5 acres of a 1200-acre tract to test drill for oil, which doesn’t seem unreasonable, except for the terms of the grant. However, the grant wasn’t the basis for the judge’s action; instead, he worried about the nesting practices of a songbird in an area consisting of less than 3% of the entire parcel.
It’s an apt demonstration of irrational as described by Senator Cornyn in his essay.