Congress Shows The True Face Of All Of The Above Energy
When it comes to energy, the Republican Party has developed what it thinks is a smooth tactic. Republicans saw that the “drill baby drill” motto, which reached its height during the failed presidential campaign of John McCain and Sarah Palin, was too crass in its play for financial donations from Big Oil. It made GOP politicians look baldly corrupt.
So, the latest party line for Republican politicians is to say that they support an All-Of-The-Above energy policy, which means that they believe that every idea industry comes up with for producing energy is deserving of support. Sometimes, Republican politicians simply say that their energy policy is “all of the above”. Other times, as with Mike Huckabee, they’ll say that the USA ought to do “anything and everything” to get more energy.
In the case of Republican U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith, the All-Of-The-Above party line on energy sounds like this: “Coal, natural gas, nuclear, wind, solar, hydro-power, domestic oil, and biomass all may play a critical role in America’s energy future.”
At first glance, these policies seem reasonable and moderate, not to be pushing for any particular form of energy, but simply saying yes to anything. Who could say no to saying yes?
But then, isn’t it the job of our elected leaders to exercise discernment? Isn’t the essence of good policy to differentiate between reasonable ideas and unreasonable ones? Imagine if we accepted this All-Of-The-Above strategy for education. We’d place books in school libraries without any care for whether they were well-written or accurate. We’d feed children any food, without regard to whether it was nutritious. We’d teach students any idea that came into our heads, whether it had any solid connection to reality at all.
In energy policy, quality matters. It matters that fossil fuels are an outdated source of energy that spread massive amounts of pollution when they are refined and when they are used. It matters that they contribute to climate change. It matters that fossil fuels are not a renewable resource, and require dangerous methods of extraction from the ground. An All-Of-The-Above energy policy asserts that these matters aren’t worth thinking about.
So, if we were to accept the Republicans’ All-Of-The-Above energy policy at face value, we would have to conclude that it’s sloppy and lazy. What makes matters worse is that we can’t accept the All-Of-The-Above energy policy at face value. In truth, what All-Of-The-Above energy policy means is that fossil fuels continue to dominate, receiving massive amounts of government assistance and loopholes in regulations, while clean, sustainable sources of energy are marginalized.
An example of this was provided yesterday by Morgan Griffith, the Republican congressman who likes to say that “Coal, natural gas, nuclear, wind, solar, hydro-power, domestic oil, and biomass all may play a critical role in America’s energy future,” but what Griffith says and what he does aren’t at all the same thing. Griffith’s actions in Congress, behind the All-Of-The-Above facade, are consistently to protect the fossil fuels industry from competition from clean, sustainable alternatives.
Yesterday, before the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for 2016 came up for a final vote, Representative Griffith offered an amendment to take 50 million dollars from the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy fund, which is already $266 million below its level of funding from last year, and to redirect that money to a fund to pay the fossil fuels industry. “We must take action to ensure that we can still use coal,” Griffith said while introducing his amendment. 175 Republicans and 2 Democrats voted for Morgan Griffith’s amendment, attacking clean energy.
The Republicans’ All-Of-The-Above energy policy is nothing more than a new name for burning up the same old dirty, unrenewable sources of energy that our grandparents used. We have to do better than that.