Another view - A decidedly green hue in Biden's energy plan
- Jul 24, 2020 2:31 pm GMT
Joe Biden is beginning to roll out policy proposals as he nears the Democratic nomination for president, and on energy, his plan has a distinctly green hue. A move away from fossil fuels is being assisted by the courts, which bodes ill for U.S. consumers.
Dominion Energy and Duke Energy recently announced that due to legal and regulatory headaches, they won't build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which was to move natural gas from West Virginia to North Carolina. A U.S. Supreme Court decision had gone the companies' way, but a nationwide injunction in April by a federal judge in Montana against a different pipeline presented new obstacles.
Dominion and Duke decided enough was enough.
"These lawsuits and decisions have sought to dramatically rewrite decades of permitting and legal precedent including as implemented by presidential administrations of both political parties," the companies said.
A few days later, a federal judge ordered that the Dakota Access pipeline, which has been moving oil for three years, be shut down to allow for additional environmental review. The pipeline was the subject of months of protests in 2016 and 2017 by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which worried that the project would taint the water supply. The judge said the review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was flawed.
The new review could drag into next year, by which time Biden could be in the White House and scuttle it altogether.
His climate change policy recommendations stem from a joint task force with supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. A co-chair of the task force was Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who co-authored the Green New Deal last year.
The task force calls for achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2050 by going all in on green energy.
"To reach net-zero emissions as rapidly as possible, Democrats commit to eliminating carbon pollution from power plants by 2035 through technology-neutral standards for clean energy and energy efficiency," the task force said. "We will dramatically expand solar and wind energy deployment through community-based and utility-scale systems. Within five years, we will install 500 million solar panels, including eight million solar roofs and community solar energy systems, and 60,000 made-in-America wind turbines."
Among other things, the plan calls for transitioning the nation's entire fleet of school buses – about half a million vehicles – "to American-made, zero-emission alternatives within five years." Three million vehicles in local, state and federal fleets would be transitioned to zero-emission.
The move away from coal to natural gas (and renewables), driven by the fracking revolution, has helped drive down carbon emissions in the United States and made the country energy independent. But natural gas production is far out of favor with progressives guiding the Democratic Party. Biden has said that fracking "is not going to be on the chopping block." We'll see about that.
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