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Mark Caserta: Responsible path to developing clean energy is needed

Oct. 24, 2012 @ 11:55 PM

As we draw nearer to what many are predicting to be a colder than average winter, millions of Americans are paying more for all their energy needs.

While President Obama has been consistent in his message of pursuing an "all-of-the-above" strategy to solving our nation's energy woes, his actions have been anything but balanced. A responsible approach would involve diminishing the use of fossil fuels relative to an increasing availability of renewable resources like wind and solar.

But this president's methodology of decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels is nothing short of economic extortion of the American people.

In a 2008 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, then presidential candidate Obama stated, "Under my plan of cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket."

He went on to say "whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers."

While cap and trade is currently dead, coal-fired plants are powering down nationwide, and they're blaming Obama's Environmental Protection Agency.

Obama's remarks on his agenda for coal were astonishing. "So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can," he said. "It's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted."

The president hopes that by "twisting the arm" of the American people with higher fossil fuel costs he can more readily garner support for his green energy initiative.

His perceived willingness to "discard" the communities whose lifeblood flows from the coal industry has alienated many in his own party.

While the president's plan to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels promotes environmental accountability, its crippling effect on domestic oil exploration and the coal industry haphazardly impacts Americans and the economy.

We're all feeling this impact right now at the gas pump with record high gas prices.

Coal-production states like West Virginia could plunge into an economic precipice if the president has his way with the coal industry.

Interestingly in 2008, the president's own Energy Secretary, Steven Chu stated, "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe" to coax Americans into buying more fuel efficient vehicles.

He has since walked back those remarks.

Along with threatening Americans with higher energy costs, this administration "doubles down" by betting taxpayers' money at the federal government's "energy roulette table."

This federal government's attempt to pick the winners and losers in the energy market has resulted in billions of taxpayer's dollars lost to failed Obama taxpayer-funded green energy companies, like Solyndra, who have filed or are expected to file bankruptcy.

There's something inherently wrong with an administration attempting to impose its energy policies upon "We the People" through coercion.

An "all-the-above" energy approach should involve a responsible pursuit of multiple energy sources with a goal of lowering costs for all Americans -- not solely to achieve Obama's green energy vision "at-all-costs."

Mark Caserta is a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

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