Stephen Moore: Americans Need To Wake Up To The Green Movement’s Radicalism
How much of a toll on the American economy does the green movement have to charge before Americans start to wake up to the dastardliness of radical environmentalism?
Last month we saw firsthand one impact of Big Green on our economy with the White House announcement that the Keystone XL pipeline won’t be built for at least six more months.
Ten thousand blue collar jobs, almost all paying more than $50,000 a year, down the drain.
It’s a project that polls show almost all Americans want, except for the deep-pocketed green elite in Hollywood, Silicon Valley and Wall Street.
Then the Los Angeles Times recently warned that electricity prices could be driven upward in California and other states due in part to renewable energy mandates that cause electric power shortages and spike prices paid by homeowners.
Meanwhile, around the country, from Seattle to Bangor, Maine, property owners are locked into fights with green groups preventing people from building on their land in responsible and productive ways.
Out West, the Endangered Species Act has become an Endanger the Oil and Gas Industry Act, as energy companies confront higher regulatory hurdles and bans on development on potentially tens of millions of acres.
Whole communities that depend on natural resource development are being wiped out.
Big Green is already fast at work wiping out America’s coal industry, with entire mining towns nearly shut down in states like Kentucky and West Virginia, thanks to the left’s war on coal. These are small towns where the median household income is often less than $40,000 a year. Liberals used to pretend to care about these people.
This green tyranny is becoming an oppressive force shrinking the U.S. economy, destroying jobs and eviscerating property rights.
The modern-day green movement is not run by people who want to keep the air we breathe and the water we drink clean, or safeguard endangered species like tigers and bald eagles or prevent blight.
Every sane person is for that. It’s run by radicals whose guiding principle is to impede economic growth and material progress, who view capitalism and profits as an evil force.
Take the propaganda war against fracking, the revolutionary drilling technique that’s been one of the great made-in-America technological innovations of the past 30 years, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, making middle-class Americans rich and helping launch a renaissance in manufacturing and technology industries.
Of course every American wants it done safely. But the left wants the practice banned. New York and Vermont have already done so. Several counties in resource-rich Colorado voted to ban fracking after a successful PR campaign launched by Big Green financed by liberal millionaires and billionaires like hedge fund manager Tom Steyer.
But a new study by Mercator energy documents that the new drilling technologies have benefited the poor the most because of the dramatic reduction in natural gas prices from $12 to $4 in seven years.
Thanks to cheap shale oil and gas, poor households are saving more than $5 billion a year — the value of three Low Income Home Energy Assistance Programs.
Increasing the price of electricity, as Big Green’s policies are doing, is a hefty regressive tax on low-income people.
In fact, the environmental movement’s entire agenda — stop fracking, stop coal development, stop pipelines, stop nuclear energy, stop drilling on federal lands, require expensive “renewable energy,” enact cap-and-trade schemes, impose carbon taxes, and on and on — victimize poor and middle-class Americans the most. Rich donors to the Sierra Club get hardly a scratch from these policies to save the planet.
The latest absurdity is that groups like the Environmental Defense Fund have turned against natural gas production despite the shale gas revolution.
They want to move “beyond natural gas.” Why? The natural gas boom has done more to reduce carbon emissions in the U.S. than all the windmills built since the Middle Ages.