A dubious “Domestic energy” survey

I just can’t resist reproducing this one, from the Daily Local News web site:

Domestic energy

Where to start?

What about solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and hydroelectric energy? Aren’t those worth talking about?

What is “domestic energy”? Do sun and wind not count because we don’t extract them from American soil?

What sort of public support? Tax money? Relaxing pollution regulations (more energy, less health)?

How does one “support” energy? By giving money to multinational corporations? Funding basic research? Subsidizing current prices to consumers? Developing new energy sources?

Does any energy source deserve public support? Some readers might even believe in the so-called free market.

Why isn’t there a “none of the above” option?

One reason this is on my mind is that during a recent trip to Virginia (on which I actually got to visit Sherwood Forest plantation, which I had written about last year in “John Tyler’s grandchildren and the sense of history“) I heard trains hooting by the motel in Williamsburg about once an hour all night.

In the morning I asked the man at the motel desk if the trains were carrying supplies down to the military bases at Newport News.

No, he said, those trains are carrying coal from West Virginia for export to Europe.

As usual, if I had known more history, I wouldn’t have been surprised. From “Newport News” in Wikipedia:

In 1881, 15 years of explosive development began under the leadership of Collis P. Huntington, whose new Peninsula Extension of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway from Richmond opened up transportation along the Peninsula and provided a new pathway for the railroad to bring West Virginia bituminous coal to port for coastal shipping and worldwide export. With the new railroad came a terminal and coal piers where the colliers were loaded.

So much for “energy self-sufficiency”! We are always being told we have to make environmental sacrifices such as destruction of mountains and valleys West Virginia–not to mention deaths of coal miners–for the sake of “our energy needs.” But for company profits and other countries’ energy needs doesn’t sound so appealing, does it?

How about the industry-proposed Keystone XL Pipeline Project, which would promote the production and consumption of particularly messy bitumen-laden petroleum and cut across a lot of sensitive territory and aquifers to deliver tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast?

A lot is being written about that every day. All I can say is that if the Obama administration imposed a rule that none of the contents of that pipeline can be exported (as in: China, India), it would be a lot less attractive to the fossil fuel industries and the Koch Brothers.

Ah, others say, but TransCanada would export its oil to Asia anyhow by enlarging an extant pipeline or building a new pipeline from the Tar Sands to British Columbia (also at great environmental cost, of course). You know, we can’t control all other countries. But why should we help other countries to promote global warming when we are already doing such a great job of it ourselves?

And about the results of that poll… I should have chosen “No Strong Opinion” while I had a chance (even though I do have a Strong Opinion) because that particular pseudo-survey has already disappeared. Just as well–it was an embarrassment and an insult to the Daily Local’s readership.

I suppose it will cycle back in a while but I don’t have time to waitl You can give your opinion on marijuana, abortion, and the US constitution, though, if you want. I suppose all these surveys are conducted by outside organizations that then use the results to “prove” that Americans favor more coal production or whatever.

PS 4/6/13 about the profitability of energy exports,

…Increased production has lowered US prices of crude oil and natural gas, which refiners use to make gasoline, diesel and other fuels. Crude in the US has been selling for $20 per barrel cheaper than international crude. With lower input costs, US refiners are making enormous amounts of petroleum-based fuels and selling them on the international market at a huge profit.

from “US trade deficit narrows to $43 billion in February” by Martin Crutsinger AP, Boston Globe, 4/5/13


About politicswestchesterview

Nathaniel regards himself as a progressive Democrat who sees a serious need to involve more Americans in the political process if we are to rise to Ben Franklin's challenge "A republic, madam, if you can keep it," after a passerby asked him what form of government the founders had chosen. This blog gives my views and background information on the local, state, and national political scenes. My career in higher education was mainly in the areas of international studies, foreign languages, and student advising, most recently at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, from which I retired in 2006. I have lived in West Chester since 1986.
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One Response to A dubious “Domestic energy” survey

  1. Pingback: A dubious “Domestic energy” survey | progressivenetwork

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