By JR on Thursday, March 24, 2011
There's no such thing as a happy Greenie, as the report below from "Grist" shows. Would they have preferred more nuclear reactors?
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced yesterday an enormous expansion in coal mining that threatens to increase U.S. climate pollution by an amount equivalent to more than half of what the United States currently emits in a year. A statement from Wild Earth Guardians, Sierra Club, and Defenders of Wildlife put the announcement in perspective:
When burned, the coal threatens to release more than 3.9 billion tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, equal to the annual emissions from 300 coal-fired power plants, further cementing the United States as a leading contributor to climate disruption ... Salazar’s announcement is a stark contrast to his call for clean energy. Interior, for example, touted that in 2010, 4,000 megawatts of renewable energy development were authorized. And in today’s press conference, Secretary Salazar announced Interior’s intent to authorize more than 12,000 megawatts of renewable energy by the end of next year ... Yet in opening the door for 2.35 billion tons of coal mining, Salazar’s announcement effectively enables more than 300,000 megawatts of coal-fired energy -- 30 times more dirty energy development than renewable energy.
In other words, despite his administration's rhetorical embrace of clean energy, Obama is effectively using modest wind and solar investments as cover for a broader embrace of dirty fuels. It's the same strategy BP, Chevron, and other major polluters use: tout modest environmental investments in multi-million dollar PR campaigns, while putting the real money into fossil fuel development.
President Obama seems to be rushing to make this embrace even tighter: in the last week, the administration announced four new permits for deepwater offshore oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico -- the same type of exploration that led to the BP oil spill disaster. Like most of his giveaways to polluters, however, this one failed equally to generate much praise from major polluting industries:
"We look forward to the day when a single permit on plan doesn't merit a press conference by the Secretary of the Interior," said the American Petroleum Institute’s Erik Milito in response.
Even during his trip to Brazil, Obama paid lip service to "green energy," but then gushed over Brazil's recent offshore oil discovery and added, "When you're ready to start selling, we want to be one of your best customers ... the United States could not be happier with the potential for a new, stable source of energy."