Saturday, February 13, 2010

We Need More Laws...Well, At Least Better Ones

Usually, asking for lawmakers to make laws never least by normal people. Don't get us wrong, there are plenty of legislators being hounded by lobbyists every day for this piece of legislation or that. But what about good laws? Are there things we could be doing to help this country move forward?

You bet there is!

Recently, we saw Aubrey McClendon (CEO of Chesapeake Energy) and James Rogers (CEO of Duke Energy) go at each other on stage at the Wake Forest University. If you want to see some of that footage, you can check it out right here (courtesy of our YouTube Channel) (Just be sure to turn up the sound on your computer as we're sitting about 10 rows back).

In this video, you'll hear Jim tell Aubrey that he is agnostic about where he gets the fuel to fire his power plants. What? How can that be? Doesn't he want to be clean and green with his power? Doesn't he want to save the planet, lower carbon emissions, and plant trees? Nope...well, at least unless he can plant trees tall enough to hide his nuclear power plants from view. His number one goal is to find the cheapest energy sources that will supply consistent, reliable power to his customers.

Why does he take that stance if natural gas has 50% of the carbon footprint of coal? Because we live in a Pro-Black Lung Coalition world in which the Coal Lobby in Washington is one of the oldest, strongest, and most powerful Lobbying groups out there. They have convinced Washington to create "coal friendly" legislation so that they can keep providing their "heroine" (that's what Aubrey called coal after Jim called natural gas crack cocaine) to utility companies. Until legislation is changed, it is clear that neither Jim Rogers at Duke Energy, or any other energy company CEO is going to change over to natural gas (despite it being cleaner) unless they know that it will be supported by legislation.

Years ago, about 2 decades ago, congress momentarily made it illegal to use natural gas to fire power plants because it was in short supply and they wanted to make sure homes had it available to heat and cook. This event created the opening for the coal lobby that no one has been able to close to this day. Coal is cheap, abundant, and it offers the "unicorn myth" that one day we can do CCS (Carbon Capture and Sequestration) and make "clean coal".

Well, while that has never happened yet, we are getting natural gas out of shale properties all over this country from Texas to Pennsylvania and in plenty of places in between. There is said to be around 100 years of natural gas in the shale formations in the US...enough for us to run everything off of natural gas until we can make the switch to wind, solar, and water. You can read more about this from The PickensPlan, just click on the link.

Also, you can watch the videos below, which break down what we saw take place between Chesapeake Energy (CHK) and Duke Energy (DUK) at the Energy Conference.

While it's certainly up to us to learn more about the different fuels and their use in providing us with power; one thing is for sure, until legislation allows "fracking" or horizontal drilling explicitly, no matter how clean natural gas may be, power companies will not use it to fire power plants until the legislative uncertainty is removed.

The other thing that is very clear now, is that our Country needs a new economy. We think it has to come from Energy or Technology. Health Care is already 1/6th of our economy. The Service Sector is huge right now. The Defense Sector can grow in terms of preventing Cyber Warfare, Anti-Virus, FireWalls, X-Ray Machines, Full-body Scanners, etc. But, in order to get us back to anywhere close to a 5% unemployment rate...we're going to need to create a new economy. We can't simply put more people to work doing what we already do as a country because businesses will not give up the productivity they currently enjoy. Profits are getting better and better. The last thing corporate America wants to do now, is to go back to declining profits. That means we need a new Energy Economy and we need the help of legislation to set a long term energy policy for our country.

It doesn't have to be perfect, but we need to lay out the case for how different fuels will be used over time. A longer term energy policy will give CEOs enough certainty to make decisions that will take 5-7 years to implement. Jim Rogers stated that he will replace every single plant he has right now in the next 40 to 50 years, every plant. Can you imagine the jobs that would create today if CEOs had a blueprint for the future of legislation. We have heard for weeks on CNBC and other channels that legislative uncertainty means that companies will hire less and spend less. Well today, Aubrey McClendon and James Rogers just proved it.

Please contact your congressperson and senator today to let them know that we need to remove legislative uncertainty and get started putting people back to work.

1 comment:

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