In an op-ed column in the Washington Examiner recently, Doug Lamborn, a Republican Representative from Colorado’s 5th District and Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, lambasted the Obama Administration for not taking action to “drill, baby, drill.”
Mr. Lamborn takes the oil, gas and coal industry line that these fossil fuels are somehow marginalized and that we aren’t fully taking advantage of our domestic energy resources. Really Mr. Lamborn? Sir, with all due respect, this is not constructive and not in the spirit of bipartisan solutions to our energy and climate problems.
And speaking of climate, not once does Mr. Lamborn mention how the carbon emissions from our excessively heavy use of oil, gas and coal to feed our insatiable appetite for cheap energy contributes to climate change.
Nor does Mr. Lamborn mention the unfairly large oil, gas and coal industry tax breaks and the miniscule amount of money this country invests in renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, hydroelectricity, geothermal and biofuels. I find it ironic in a piece that is titled “Natural resources hold the key to economy, creating jobs,” that Mr. Lamborn leaves out the most abundant resources available to us — the sun, the wind, the waves, thermal energy and the many sources like algae that make biofuels.
Do these clean energy industries not create American jobs Mr. Lamborn? And without polluting the environment and endangering the health of millions of Americans and sacrificing the future of the planet.
And Mr. Lamborn goes on to criticize environmental regulations against oil shale drilling for natural gas, but fails to mention the countless communities that have had their water supply contaminated by unregulated drilling.
And Mr. Lamborn, while praising the mining industry for creating jobs, fails again to mention the egregious safety violations from companies such as Massey Energy.
What Mr. Lamborn just doesn’t get is that he is propping up 20th century forms of energy that are harmful and finite. What he should be doing is supporting the Obama Administration in their forward-thinking efforts to transition America more towards renewable energy sources.
Contrary to his statement that the president needs to “reverse his attack on American energy,” Obama is doing everything he can to move American energy into the 21st century. But his vision of American energy is very different than yours Mr. Lamborn. Wind, solar, geothermal, hydro power and biofuels are actually sustainable, while oil, coal and gas are not. It really is as simple as that.
And what exactly is our government, military and private industry doing without the help of an intransigent Congress deeply tied to the fossil fuels industry?
Here are some examples both large and small:
- The Department of Energy is pursuing the “SunShot” initiative to reduce the costs of photovoltaic solar energy systems by about 75% to make solar panels cost competitive with other energy sources by the end of the decade.
- Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Energy Secretary Steven Chu recently announced a major initiative to boost offshore wind power, including funding opportunities of up to $50.5 million for projects to support offshore wind energy. This will help realize President Obama’s goal of generating 80% of the nation’s electricity from clean energy sources by 2035.
- DOE is leveraging fossil energy expertise to test the reliability and efficiency of geothermal power generation at oil and gas fields. The goal is to reduce the upfront costs of geothermal development and improve its effectiveness.
- The U.S. Air Force is testing biofuels to power its plane engines with the goal of acquiring half of its domestic jet fuel from alternate sources by 2016.
- Washington State, where Boeing manufactures its airplanes, is proposing legislation to promote making aviation fuel out of wood waste.
- British Airways is working with U.S. company Solena to build a facility in London to convert household waste to fuel.
- North Jersey Media Group is working with KDC Solar to install 20,400 solar panels at the publisher’s Rockaway, New Jersey printing and packaging plant.
- Cox Communications has completed an 800kW fuel cell installation in Orange County, California. The alternative energy installation joins a 100kW photovoltaic rooftop array.