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Friday, April 16, 2021

Environmentalists Have Lost the Moral High Ground

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David Stevenson
David T. Stevenson is the director of the Center for Energy Competitiveness at the Caesar Rodney Institute. He holds a B.S. in agricultural economics from Rutgers University, and is founder and president of One Call Services, Inc., a home remodeling company. In his twenty-three years at DuPont, Dave worked with both economic and technical issues including serving in technical service, business management and new business development. His areas of focus included pioneering work in the production of photovoltaic cells and wind turbines, and work on new battery designs. Dave has started four successful businesses since leaving DuPont and they are now run by family members. He helped start a mentoring program for entrepreneurs at the University of Delaware, is an "angel" investor with First State Innovations, and helps analyze new business opportunities. He was a founding member of Delaware's Green Building Council.

Environmental groups want us to believe they have the moral high ground as they were for cleaner air and water, and been able to get away with that simply by claiming those who opposed them support pollution. It is no longer that simple. By wedding themselves to a few expensive, un-reliable technologies as the only acceptable solutions they expose their claims as untrue. The result is these groups expose their self-interest. They seem willing to accept any cost and to use any means to achieve their goals. The result is a loss of credibility, and what amounts to, a “green” war on the poor and middle class. Consider these moral imperatives they ignore:

• Support for corn based ethanol with limited environmental benefits has significantly raised global costs at least 20% for grains that provide 87% of the world’s food forcing over 100 million people below the minimum subsistence level (1)

• Exclusive support for expensive alternative energy raises the cost of power and goods affected by that power with the most impact felt by those who can least afford the cost (2)

• A blind fight against the use of clean burning natural gas and nuclear power that could reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emission many times faster and cheaper than alternative energy sources actually delaying environmental gains (3)

• Forced marginal new regulations based on weak and exaggerated scientific claims threatening energy reliability, higher power costs, and millions of lost jobs (4)

• Support for un-wise government investments in “green“ energy startup companies forcing electric ratepayers and tax payers into becoming involuntary venture capitalists when they can least afford this very high risk (5)

Environmental groups used to decry the power of Big Oil and Big Chemicals. Now Big Green, made up of powerful environmental lobbying groups along with elected, regulatory, academic, and appointed officials, have control. Legislation and regulations are routinely passed using questionable tactics. Consider a few examples in Delaware:

• Introduced and passed the billion dollar Fuel Cell Tariff in an unheard of five legislative days at the end of the 2011 legislative session giving monopoly status to Bloom Energy in direct violation of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution

• Hid changes in epilogue language in the capital budget passed near midnight of the last day of a legislative session eliminating a $30 million cap in bonding authority for the Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU) giving unlimited bonding authority for questionable energy efficiency projects

• Approved $75 million in capital expenses for energy saving projects for government buildings through the SEU outside the transparent and competitive capital budget process

• Adopted automatic compliance with any extreme new regulations issued by the California Air Resources Board without legislative approval after a single Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control hearing held on a Friday night with minimal public notice

• Adopted a complex subsidy process to hide the true cost of renewable energy projects so it took a Freedom of Information Act request and a lawsuit to find out the Dover City Sun Park (the second largest sun farm east of the Mississippi) is producing power at four times the cost of conventional power

• The state is trying to use questionable sea level rise data to usurp county control of land use decisions specifically left to the counties by the state constitution

No wonder support for environmental programs is eroding. Gallup does an annual national survey comparing concerns for the environment versus the economy. In 2000, 70% put the environment first. The last decade saw that support erode steadily and the March, 2012, survey showed support for the environment over the economy has been cut dramatically to 41%. We expect a further decline in support for environmental policies as Big Green continues to force expensive and questionable regulations on an increasingly observant populace.

Notes:
1 Aaron Smith in an article titled “Children of the Corn: The Renewable Fuels Disaster
2 CRI publication “Green” Premium takes off in 2012
3 CRI publication How to Rebuild Delaware’s Electric Generation Capacity: You Decide
4 “The EPA’s New Air Quality Regulations: All Pain, No Gain (parts one and two)”, National Center for Policy Analysis Aug & Sept 2011

5 CRI publication More Solyndra Type Failures

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Delaware passes 100,000 COVID-19 cases

The number of variant cases continue to rise, but the state only tested 92 samples last week.

Spartans use big fifth inning to hold off Sallies at Frawley 6-4

Christian Colmery pitched 5 innings of shutout ball

Help biodiversity by picking up native plant each time you go to nursery

Gradually adding natives to a garden will help it begin to add more to the state's biodiversity
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