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Op-Ed

California Billionaire Tom Steyer's War Against Fossil Fuels Could Destroy American Energy

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After becoming a billionaire, in part from his investments in gas and oil, Tom Steyer has engaged in a jihad against fossil fuels. In recent comments on his Twitter feed, the out-of-whack California progressive advocated for a complete and total moratorium of natural gas production and use in the United States.

Basing his argument on fluctuations in natural gas prices seen in November, Steyer said, “natural gas prices have spiked up really dramatically,” adding, “They’ve gone up by more than 50 percent, they’re up 30 percent this month. And so what that means is that Americans are going to be spending more to heat their houses this winter if they generate their electricity from natural gas.”

Furthermore, Steyer dubbed solar and wind energy “free,” touting green energy’s superiority to fossil fuels, ultimately suggesting that the United States “shouldn’t spend any more time investing in natural gas infrastructure,” period.

Steyer lives in a fantasy land. Natural gas is clean and abundant, particularly in the United States. Just this month, the United States Geological Survey discovered in the Delaware Basin portion of Texas and New Mexico’s Permian Basin the largest continuous oil and gas discovery every found. Many believe it contains at least 46 billion barrels of oil and 281 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. If Steyer was really concerned about costs for consumers, he would be pushing to quickly extract the material from the ground.

However, despite recent volatility in fuel prices, most Americans would probably tell Steyer that they prefer the option to keep their homes heated whether utilizing fossil fuels or not. According to the Institute for Energy Research, “intermittent” green energy providers like wind and solar “cannot be relied upon to produce power when needed, and must have other technologies to back them up.”

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In 2017 for example, natural gas comprised 29 percent of total U.S. energy consumption according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, while renewable energy, much of which is subsidized by the taxpayers, clocked in at just 11 percent.

Although recent natural gas prices have experienced variation, prices are still historically lower than other levels from 2003 through 2008, and it’s vitally important that the United States continue to invest in critical natural gas infrastructure for sorely needed energy production and further economic growth.

One such project is the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a 600-mile underground natural gas pipeline running through Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina.

Besides providing cleaner, lower-cost energy to heat homes and power industry to Americans across the nation, the project will provide massive economic benefits. Currently, it is projected that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will create over 19,000 jobs in construction and manufacturing, generate $28 million per year in taxes for local communities, and provide a whopping $377 million per year in energy savings.

Projects like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will create high-paying American jobs, strengthen U.S. energy independence, promote the safe transfer of fossil fuel, and bolster national security. Therefore, it’s vitally important that lawmakers, the courts, and businesses continue to invest in and support the energy infrastructure this country needs.

Plus, as a bonus for the environmentally conscious, these projects will also drastically cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.

According to another recent Steyer tweet, “195 countries are gathered at #COP24 to respond to climate change, but something’s missing: leadership from the U.S. government. This administration’s lack of commitment to solving this global crisis is appalling. For the sake of our nation and the world, we’ve got to change.”

Apparently, unbeknownst to Steyer, 2017 levels of carbon emissions are already meeting targets for 2025 emissions under the Clean Power Plan. How is this possible? Experts at Environmental Science & Technology are crediting increased usage of the very energy source Steyer appears to disdain — natural gas.

California billionaires like Steyer — 1 percenters who live in the lap of luxury — are clearly out of touch with what middle-class America truly needs. Under the guise of taking the nation into a “greener” future, Steyer would have us instead revert into an economic stone age, unable to even crank up the heat this Christmas.

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Andrew F. Quinlan is the co-founder and president of the Center for Freedom and Prosperity.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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