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July 15, 2016

Democrats' Vision On Fossil Fuels Is Pure Fantasy

  Philadelphia Inquirer

This month's Democratic convention will be a hotbed of anti-fossil-fuel vitriol. The policy platform, invited speakers, and nominee herself all support a war against oil and natural gas.

Gone are the days when Democrats supported nuclear power and natural gas. Gone are the days when they championed the fossil-fuel industry because it supports millions of high-paying, blue-collar jobs. Gone are the days when Democrats seriously pursued an energy-independent United States.

Today, they're pursuing a radical overhaul of the American energy market. And if they get their way, the economic consequences will be devastating.

The committee cooking up the convention's official policy platform has explicitly rebuked President Obama, who once promised an all-inclusive energy strategy. Instead, they want to move "beyond the 'all of the above' energy approach."

They just want one of the above - renewables, chiefly solar, wind, and biomass. The committee adopted a proposal envisioning an "America run entirely on clean energy by mid-century."

One might call this an overly ambitious goal. After nearly eight years of the most pro-clean-energy president in American history, one who handed out billions of taxpayer dollars to green-tech companies, the slice of the electricity market powered by renewables has increased from a puny 4 percent to an only-slightly-less-puny 7 percent.

That's a lot of time and money for very little progress.

Of course, the Democrats' plan is not simply to help clean fuels compete in the energy market. They want to shut down the fossil-fuel industry. Hillary Clinton explicitly promised at a CNN town hall that she's "going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business."

But she doesn't want to stop with coal. Clinton wants to impose crushing new regulations on fracking, the innovative drilling technique that's opened up huge new underground energy reserves. In a March debate, she promised that if she is elected president, "I do not think there will be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place."

We've been warned.

A regulatory crackdown on fracking would basically spell the end of the domestic energy industry. Most of the easy-to-access energy pockets have been depleted.

Democrats want to back up their fossil-fuel crusade with the full force of the state. Many have been encouraging the Justice Department to investigate companies and others who have allegedly misled the public about climate change. "Alleged" is a very low bar, since anybody can accuse anyone of anything. In practice, any executive, scientist, or policy expert who challenges the climate-change dogma of the far left could face fines or jail time.

Renewables come nowhere near meeting our country's energy needs. Americans will still need fossil fuels for cars and planes and to power their homes and offices for decades to come. Indeed, one irony of the upcoming convention is that most attendees will arrive by plane, take cars to their hotels, and enjoy an air-conditioned convention center, all thanks to the fossil fuels they'll spend days denouncing.

If Democrats are successful in their attempt to crush domestic oil and gas, Americans won't switch to renewables; they'll just be forced to buy traditional energy from abroad, including from Russia, Venezuela, and Iran, financially fueling those countries' political mischief.

So let's call the Democratic plan what it is: A full-employment act for despots and terrorists.

The Democratic vision of liberating the country from fossil fuels will be on full display at the convention. Their vision is pure fantasy, completely detached from the realities of the modern energy market and society's needs.

Merrill Matthews is a resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation in Dallas.

This piece has also appeared in The Albuquerque Journal, The Las Vegas Review Journal, The Fort Worth Star Telegram, Northwest Georgia News, The Redding Record Searchlight, The San Angelo Standard Times, The Herald Democrat, Waterbury Republic American, The Skagit Valley Herald and The Butler Eagle. 


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