January 9, 2012

Another View: Will column oversimplifies alternative energy debate

Even if you don't consider climate change, economic factors argue for new power sources.


In a recent column, George Will mused upon America's coming ability to export energy as the death knell of an important progressive cornerstone, creating regulation. This export revival reinforces a retreat of the idea that we need regulations in the face of dwindling supplies of petroleum energy and rising populations.

It is an opinion piece, and broad-brush rhetoric comes with the territory. If increasing energy availability is reason to question or disparage new attitudes, technologies and sources, then progressives would not be surprised. After all, not long ago Mr. Cheney's Energy Task Force produced the conclusion that our future energy source and only option is oil. What imagination.

Will points to less-than-stellar U.N. sponsored climate change summits as proof of fading environmental priorities, but neglects to point out abdication of a leading role by the U.S. insures such performance.

The missing finale of Mr. Will's article should mention energy producers have our interests at heart and how excited he is about gasoline prices coming down in the near future as a result of this surplus. I suspect George knows better.

Export of fuel from America to higher priced markets will raise prices. Energy speculation will have another "factor" to consider as markets are manipulated. The perception will be created that new sources of energy are risky, weird or "liberal."

Many Americans feel we must be especially efficient and considerate of how we use energy.

We spend just under 20 percent of our income on energy. Oil dependence means our economy suffers and can be held hostage by other countries. Global warming or not, we need to be more imaginative regarding energy use and the environment. For "progressives" these are important issues that merit regulation. For George, it's all about gas.

Joe Delaney is a resident of Portland.


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