It wasn’t long ago when public buses were slathered with elephant size ads claiming, “This vehicle is powered by clean, natural gas.” But that was before the green movement changed its tune and decided natural gas was evil. This volte-face is in keeping with much of the environmental debate, which is consistently inconsistent regarding all things energy-related: Nuclear power bad, no wait, nuclear power good. Watch for “The Coming Ice Age” – oops, ignore that and watch out for global warming. The U-turns in energy politics have understandably led to a passive disinterest in the power debate. However, the current war on natural gas is a different animal and one that conservatives should closely observe because it’s about to get very personal very soon.
Natural Gas Ignites Green Wrath
Historically, those on the left never saw an energy source they liked. Americans who have been around for a few decades remember the protests at nuclear power plants. Then there is the war on coal which has been largely successful and continues unabated. But something can and should be said for having a diversity of power available. If one supply goes down, there has always been another. But it appears the ability to pick and choose is now under fire.
On Jan. 14, Liberty Nation’s Sarah Cowgill reported on Governor Kathy Hochul’s natural gas ban in New York, which will take place over the next ten years. This will mean approximately 60% of New Yorkers will have to transition their homes to electric everything from water heaters to stoves and ovens – the whole enchilada. Dictating energy sources is a dicey business because it takes away a consumer’s freedom of choice. This has become so troubling that 20 states have already passed laws that make it illegal to block natural gas hookups.
Preferring natural gas over electricity is not merely an elite desire relegated to the gourmet chef. Other practical devices use natural gas, not the least of which is the home generator. This matters because most recent estimates say one in five Americans live in rural areas, and out in the countryside is where a generator comes in handy. Severe weather, downed trees, and such often cause the electrical grid to fail. Hence, people use the backup generator to heat their homes, power their appliances, and endure a power outage with little disruption to their lives. That will come to a screeching halt if natural gas-powered generators are outlawed.
“This is not really a climate solution,” Daniel Lapato, senior director of state affairs with the American Gas Association, told the Pew research organization. “When you start eliminating these options, you have to look at the cost implications to the homeowners,” he asserted.
Here’s the dirty little secret in this debate: most of the country’s electricity comes from fossil fuels. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that only about 40% of the electricity generated is carbon-free and comes from wind, solar, hydropower, and – wait for it – nuclear energy. In essence, switching from gas to electricity will not matter in terms of going green for 60% of the country. But it will mean less choice, less liberty, and more dependence upon a single source that is unreliable.
Investors in the energy sector are either a brave bunch or enjoy playing high-stakes poker. But they risk their money willingly. Bans on natural gas in states like New York will force the average American to put all their energy eggs in the electric basket whether they like it or not. The heavy hand of the green lobby is doing its level best to mandate, force and control. Thus, we the people should not be ignorant of its methods or endgame. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature.” But he also said, “If you become sheep the wolves will eat you.”
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