Congress ‘energy killers’ must face energy reality

Published 11:53 am Monday, July 28, 2008

By Staff
By: Gary Palmer
When you think of people involved in the debate over energy and climate change issues, Roy Innis, chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), is not likely to be one of them. Innis, who heads one of the oldest and most respected civil rights organizations in America, sees the current energy crisis in America through a different lens than most people.
First of all, he sees the energy crisis for what it really is - an embargo of America’s vast energy resources of oil, gas and coal that every American is paying for through higher gasoline prices and higher heating and cooling bills.
He also sees the issue from the perspective of having spent most of his adult life fighting for the rights of the poor. For Innis, the guise of fighting global climate change is really about the transformation of American society. Denying access to affordable energy will have a devastating impact on middle- to low-income families.
Innis’ new book, Energy Keepers - Energy Killers: The New Civil Rights Battle, brings some interesting perspectives to the debate over environmental and energy policy. He believes there is a huge cartel of well-funded environmental zealots who have a tremendous influence on America’s energy and environmental policies. While they profess to be protecting the planet, their real agenda is to profoundly change our economy and society.
According to Innis, it is misguided to blame the energy companies for the prices we pay at the pump and for higher heating and cooling bills. He calls the real culprits “Energy Killers” and identifies them as environmental activists and their allies in Congress. He claims they are the ones responsible for policies that unnecessarily raise energy prices, destroy jobs and make poor families pay increasingly higher portions of their incomes for energy.
Innis further defines Energy Killers as “… the people who seek to restrict our access to the abundant, reliable, and affordable energy resources we need, and that by right (his emphasis) belong to all Americans.” These are people who oppose accessing the vast reserves of oil and natural gas off our shores, under our federal lands and beneath the tundra in Alaska and who also oppose the use of coal and the construction of new nuclear power plants to provide energy. Innis emphasizes that the reserves of oil, coal and natural gas which lie beneath federal lands belong to all the people, not to a few wealthy elitists involved in the environmental movement or those in Congress who have blocked access to our reserves.
The political power of these ideologues is so great that even as gasoline prices have reached record levels, they manage to keep Congress from passing any legislation to allow access to our oil and gas reserves which would bring prices down.
In the chapter entitled “Energy Reality,” Innis dispels the myth that the renewable energy sources most highly touted by the environmentalists - wind and solar - will be able to provide even a fraction of our energy needs anytime soon. Currently, wind and solar provide less than one-half of one percent of our energy needs. Almost 85 percent of all energy being used by Americans is generated by petroleum, coal or natural gas. Nuclear power accounts for only 8.2 percent, energy generated from biomass (ethanol, biodiesel, waste wood products and burning garbage) accounts for 3.3 percent, and 2.9 percent of our energy comes from hydroelectric power dams.
Contrary to what Al Gore and the other Energy Killers would have us believe, it is ludicrous to think that the United States can convert all its energy generation to renewable sources anytime soon. Innis quotes a 2006 government report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration indicating that there will not be any significant energy generated from renewable sources even as far in the future as the year 2050. This is the energy reality that we face and with which Congress must come to grips.
Americans face this energy reality every time they pull into a gas station to fill up, at the check-out line in the grocery store and every month when they pay their utility bills. This reality is caused by allowing radical environmentalists to dictate our energy policies and it’s hurting the country.
Energy Keepers - Energy Killers should be read by everyone who cares about the future of America. It’s written in plain language and, at just over 100 pages, it’s worth your time.
Gary Palmer is president of the Alabama Policy Institute, a non-partisan, non-profit research and education organization dedicated to the preservation of free markets, limited government and strong families, which are indispensable to a prosperous society.

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