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Gone with the wind

TOM BURGUM
Contributing Columnist
burgum@lbknews.com

All the kurfuffle about Syria and the debt ceiling negotiations obscured a very important nomination to head the little-known U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). President Obama, never known to be hesitant to promote liberal activists to positions of influence and power, has possibly outdone himself this time. Consumer activist Ron Binz has been nominated to chair FERC.

Mr. Binz, opposes nuclear energy, hates coal, thinks natural gas is a dead end fuel and I suspect objects to anyone driving an SUV. He is a fanatical promoter of renewable energy. You might say, in a Margaret Mitchell kind of moment, if Mr. Binz is approved he will endeavor to insure that fossil fuels are gone with the windmills. I know, I know, that’s pretty lame. But, if you can do better, go write your own column.

Mr. Binz served on Colorado’s utilities commission from 2007 to 2011 and was instrumental in the state’s effort to shut down coal-fired utility plants while advocating increased use of renewable energy such as wind and solar power. In 2010, while chairman of the PUC, Binz took the lead in championing legislation to mandate switching from coal to natural gas as fuel for power generating plants. Lately his love of natural gas, as in the case of so many environmentalists, has diminished now that it is plentiful. He has recently been quoted as saying natural gas is a “dead end” fuel.

Clearly, Mr. Binz sees a windmill in your future.

What is so ironic is just as we try to emulate the European welfare state, many of the EU countries are moving to a more private sector economy and just as the EU’s green centered climate policy is collapsing, our esteemed leaders want to tie our economy to windmills and solar panels at the expense of the electric consumer.

News item from the Tory Aardvark blog: Support for the European Union’s climate and energy policy eroded further Friday as the Czech Republic became the latest member to denounce subsidies for clean but costly renewable energy and pledged to double down on its use of fossil fuels. It followed Poland’s declaration that it would use its abundant domestic coal supplies for power generation rather than invest in costly renewable energy facilities. Spain abolished subsidies for the rest of the year. The EU parliament is as enthralled with windmills and solar panels as is Mr. Obama and the EU Parliament’s industrial committee, while ignoring the evidence around them, reiterated last Thursday that “Small-scale renewable energy generation is a cornerstone of the future energy policy.”

Denmark is the European showcase for small-scale renewable energy generation and is a case in point. The claim that Denmark derives about 20 percent of its electricity from wind overstates matters. Wind power is highly intermittent and as recently as 2006 met as little as 5 percent of Denmark’s annual electricity consumption.

Mr. Blinz’s opposition to all fossil fuels may be his undoing. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin who represents coal dependent West Virginia is still undecided on the nomination and his questions of the nominee revealed serious concerns. Should Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu of fossil fuel rich Louisiana oppose Binz, he might not make it. Democrats control the energy panel 12 – 10 and no Republicans indicated they would support his nomination.

Syria remains dominant in the news and it might be helpful if the current situation could be summed up in a paragraph. Columnist Victor Davis Hanson of National Review On Line, did a workman like summary that is worth repeating here. “We are,“ he wrote, “contemplating going to war in Syria to help the opposition a lot and to hurt Assad some, or to help the opposition some and hurt Assad a lot, or to hurt Assad some and help the opposition some, or to force Assad to stop or to leave, or to stop but stay, or to stop and leave; or to restore the word of the president, or the word of the United States, or the word of the international community by bombing, or by threatening to bomb but not bombing, or by neither threatening to bomb nor bombing; or to warn the Russians to stay out, or to welcome the Russians to come in or to warn the Russians to stay out and welcome the Russians to come in. Message? We are planning to do all kinds of things by not doing anything.”

What is so confusing is that a month ago, Putin was a reviled former KGB thug who has stamped out any form of democratic government in Russia and was the arms broker for Assad who was, in the eyes of the United States, a murderous war criminal. Now, due to the machinations of our president, Putin is the central figure in the Syrian civil war and considered an honest broker for peace. Assad, with Putin’s help, now has a better chance of survival than he has had in two years.

Forty years ago this fall, Israel had blunted the surprise attack by Egypt, Syria, and Jordon but was woefully short of the weapons of war and the United States responded by shipping tanks, artillery, and munitions that helped insure Israel’s victory. Israel’s enemies finally learned that despite their numerical superiority, America would help insure Israel’s survival. The result was Egypt left their Soviet sponsor to become an American ally and Moscow was out of the Mideast.

In the Obama era, as noted by Mark Steyn, “the same day the United States announced it would supply Syrian rebels with light arms and advanced medical kits, Russia announced it would give Assad’s buddies in Iran the S-300 ground-to-air weapons system and another nuclear reactor.” Who looks like the fastest horse now?

American dominance in the Mideast, you might say, is gone with the wind.

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2 Responses for “Gone with the wind”

  1. BurningBrule says:

    I’ve known Ron for many years. He, indeed, doesn’t drive an SUV. He drives or use to drive a Mini-Cooper and before he was the Colorado PUC Chair he sported an “Impeach Bush” bumper sticker on it. He is a hard-left anti-fossil fuels greenie.

  2. Weldon Frost says:

    TERRIFIC!!!!! I LIKE THE PARAGRAPH BY VICTOR DAVID HANSON. AND THE SUMMARY OF NUMB-NUTS BLINZ. GOD HELP US.

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