President Obama isn't exactly known for being a friend to the energy industry. His EPA has dumped gallons of red tape on most energy producers, he's tried to force the United States to switch to alternative energy sources by making conventional energy crushingly expensive, and his political appointees have a track record of making troublingly fond statements about high gas prices.
Nevertheless, when it comes to energy sources, President Obama isn't quite as far Left as they come, as a new public initiative by the extremely powerful environmentalist lobby The Sierra Club aptly demonstrates. National Journal reports:
The rocky relationship between one of the world’s most influential environmental groups and the natural-gas industry is headed toward full-scale combat.
The Sierra Club is intensifying its natural-gas reform campaign and renaming it “Beyond Gas,” a spin-off of its decade-old “Beyond Coal” campaign seeking the phaseout of coal-fired power plants.
“As we push to retire coal plants, we’re going to work to make sure we’re not simultaneously switching to natural-gas infrastructure,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune told National Journal in an interview on Wednesday. “And we’re going to be preventing new gas plants from being built wherever we can.”[...]
That 33 states now have renewable-electricity standards shows that the country is closer to depending on clean energy sch as wind and solar power than most people think, he said. “It would be the height of irony if we decrease our reliance on coal and rather than jumping to clean energy, we replace one dirty fuel with another.”
This is an about-face for the Sierra Club. As recently as 2009, the Club was pro-natural gas, a fact that irritated environmentalists, according to the Wall Street Journal. Now, three years later, they've changed their tune, placing themselves in a category of environmental groups for whom only solar and wind power are acceptable forms of energy, says Sean Hackbarth at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Ironically, this also places them to the Left of President Obama. See also this quote from the above National Journal story (emphasis added):
Vast reserves of shale natural gas discovered in recent years have promised the country decades of a domestic energy supply that many experts—along with President Obama—consider a cleaner fossil-fuel alternative to coal and oil. Natural gas burns with 50 percent fewer emissions than coal and is 20 to 30 percent cleaner than oil.
Life's pretty bleak when you're to the Left of a President of the United States whose own Secretary of Commerce, John Bryson, helped found one of the most radical environmental organizations in the country - the Natural Resources Defense Council. Hackbarth thinks the problem for organizations like the Sierra Club is that they don't really have a preferred energy policy, because they view all energy policies as environmentally destructive. He concludes his savage takedown of the Club this way:
This is rich. When their friends in EPA drop job-killing rules to make coal power plants extinct, the Sierra Club moves the goalposts and wants to eliminate the replacement. They oppose coal, they oppose oil, and now natural gas is off limits. To them, it’s wind and solar and that’s about it. But if they have their way and we start to get more of our electricity from wind and solar, expect them to move the goalposts again. In fact, maybe they already have. Local Sierra Clubs have been and continue to work to block solar and wind projects in Maryland, Texas, Florida,all over California, and elsewhere.
They’ll say anything to appear to be reasonable, but in the end, their answer is, “No, no, no.” The Sierra Club is simply anti-energy, and has no credibility.
So. How about that natural gas industry, conservatives?