FOR THE RECORD: Merrill Matthews is a resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy “think tank” based in Irving, Texas. He is also vice chairman of the Texas Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. This opinion column was written for the Philadelphia Inquirer. The syndicate that distributed the column did not include identifying information.
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 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 would be devastating.
The committee cooking up the convention’s official policy platform has explicitly rebuked President Barack 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 that 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 on the energy market. They want to shut down the fossil fuel industry.
Hillary Clinton promised 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 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 to 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.
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