By Walter Borden
Record heat across the globe continues to make headlines. Few serious policy analysts question the urgency for immediate action to curb carbon emission driven global warming. Meanwhile Florida regulators tilt the scales in favor of fossil fuel consuming utilities by obstructing Floridians’ access to solar power from off the grid. Incumbent fossil fuel providers argue that homeowners using solar must pay fees to cover their costs of using the grid. This line of argument ignores the fact that large capital outlays and other costs are avoided by eliminating much of the need for new power plants.
Not to be outdone, North Carolina politicians and fossil fuel lobbying groups are weakening fracking regulations with the pretense of ending corporate welfare:
Standing by [North Carolina Governor] McCrory’s side as he signed the bill were legislative leaders who played key roles in the push for drilling, including Rep. Mike Hager, a Rutherford County Republican and former Duke Energy engineer. Besides leading the legislative drive to allow fracking in North Carolina, Hager has also led an effort — unsuccessful so far — to kill the state’s renewable energy standard, calling it a form of “corporate welfare” and an “entitlement program.”
Yet as southernstudies.org reports:
But it turns out that North Carolina’s Republican leaders are now seeking taxpayer-financed “corporate welfare” for the oil and gas industry — even though the five biggest drilling companies alone hauled in $93 billion in profits last year. As The News & Observer of Raleigh reports:
* The state Senate’s proposed budget includes nearly $1.2 million to help the energy sector with drilling, analysis and marketing.
* McCrory’s proposed budget includes $500,000 for drilling up to three test wells in Lee County, part of the state targeted for fracking.
* A separate $550,000 initiative was approved last year to help the energy industry assess fracking prospects.
Once again fossil fuel production is promoted by politicos and industry representatives as unleashing prosperity via free market forces. Yet in reality they ensure subsidies for fossil fuel marketers. As argued on this blog many times before renewable energy systems are far more deserving of subsidy due to their clear benefit to the shared prosperity of all via clean air and water. In essence, no-one really advocates that energy concerns don’t require taxpayer assistance at some level. The question is, which ones, and to what degree. Fossils have had their decades of taxpayer support and are highly profitable thanks in large part to such support. Its time to boost nascent renewable energy providers. For the sake of of today’s needs and those of future generations.