Donald Trump’s energy reforms are catching heat. Some of it positive, some negative.
In the private sector, there’s positive confidence that big energy projects can get going and get completed. The Obama Administration constantly delayed major projects with bureaucratic minefields and legal challenges. Most notably, the Keystone XL pipeline project. And that matters, because when companies are deciding whether to invest billions of dollars in a major undertaking, the expectation of delays foster hesitation. Thanks to Obama’s policy, energy companies were hesitant to take risks. Investment and job opportunities were restrained.
Of course, many liberals take the opposite view to the private sector. For one, having failed to buy his policy into office, Tom Steyer of Next Gen Climate has been relegated to Twitter whining. It’s a pathetic evolution for the self-described “small shepherd boy.” Steyer is not alone. Liberals are near united (par Senator Joe Manchin) in disgust at Trump’s reforms. They claim he threatens A) the planet’s existence, and B) a future of green energy jobs.
Let’s take these in turn. On the environmental point, at least pertaining to infrastructure, liberals are on shaky ground. As Jillian Melchior explains, the Keystone XL pipeline is actually good for the environment. It reduces risks of accidents and offers efficient delivery of energy supplies. This dynamic applies equally to the Dakota Access Pipeline. As I’ve accounted – and most in the media ignore – those leading the Dakota Access protests are master hypocrites (look at their sewage reservoir…).
How about jobs?
On jobs, liberal energy policy claims their ‘green-jobs revolution’ is economic sense. Abandoning traditional energy sources such as coal and oil, they say we can create hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs in renewable energy sectors. That’s the claim. The reality is quite different. As I’ve explained, green-energy jobs are hugely inefficient. They require massive government subsidies and market interactions. Where jobs created by Keystone or Dakota Access etc. run into the tens of thousands, green jobs offer an extremely poor return on investment.
And remember traditional energy jobs are not dependent on government spending.
Liberals do not like to talk about this because they do not like the moral hypocrisy that such realities illuminate. They do not like that Trump’s policies will create jobs for those out of work or needing more work. Why? Because those jobs speak to a conservative theory of social mobility that exists distinct to liberalism. Namely, the theory that calculated deregulation and private sector empowerment can help people to lead better lives. Liberals want us to believe that government is the central framework by which lives can be improved.
Still, this debate isn’t just about jobs. Take the Clean Power Plan (CPP). Put on ice by Trump, the CPP is a liberal policy favorite. They claim it will make America healthier and more economically diversified. The data disagrees. CPP dramatically raises electricity prices. Trump was right to send it to the trash heap. Americans need jobs and mitigated costs-of-living. They do not need the social-democratic policies of the kind that incinerate young futures in Europe.
Don’t get me wrong. I recognize that we must be careful custodians of our natural environment. My marine biologist brother has, for example, enlightened me to the challenges facing our oceans. But I also believe that energy policy should be based on facts. And the fact is, Trump’s reforms will create much-needed jobs. Liberals should have learned the lesson that Americans– such as those in the coal heartlands of West Virginia – don’t like being told they have a jobless future. The energy revolution is real. Trump is right to unleash it.