Thursday, May 01, 2008

Barrasso's World of Coal

Good Things2Life
Originally uploaded by mdt1960
Wyoming Senator John Barrasso is definitely looking out for Wyoming—especially the Wyoming coal industry. In his electronic newsletter dated April 22, Barrasso writes a pro-coal piece that reads like a promotional brochure from one of the coal companies in the voice of a Barbara Cubin-esque high school cheerleader. Perhaps a few of his buddies in Campbell County sent him the coal-is-wholesome copy in an overstuffed briefcase full of "campaign donations."

In his opening paragraph, the good senator argues that "coal should never become a stranded asset." Yet he says nothing of Wyoming's unlimited energy assets found in its relentless wind and the excessive tally of solar-enriched days—much more prolific than old-school coal.

But wait, there's more. He argues that "complete substitutes to coal have often proven to be unsuitable, insufficient, or too costly to power America's homes and businesses." Did I miss something? "Complete substitutes?" When or where did we carry out this experiment? Undoubtedly he would have said the same kind of thing back in the early 1900s when the Wright Brothers were fooling around on the beach at Kitty Hawk. Let's not get Barrasso mixed up with innovative thinking.

And if it's not enough to use coal to provide our electricity, Barrasso proposes that it should be used to produce gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. Great, let's burn even more of this filthy fuel source—screw the planet and everyone that lives on it as long as there will be plenty of good jobs in Wyoming for years to come.

Barrasso resorts to a few Dubya scare tactics as well when he attributes a lack of coal use with power outages saying, "Blackouts across the Northeast in August of 2003 should have sounded a warning." Well John, the warning translates to this: Hey America, stop carrying on like the greedy and self-centered mega-consumers that you've been for all these years. It's time to pay the piper.

Perhaps what's most laughable about Barrasso's pep talk for coal is he proposes that coal is the answer to an antiquated infrastructure, "But, America has an aging energy infrastructure—from pipelines to transmission. Energy policies warrant a more comprehensive review and far-reaching solution. Coal can, and must, be an important contribution to that solution." OK, let me get this right... the solution to an aging energy infrastructure is to fix it with an energy source from the Dark Ages?

Barrasso attempts to show us his "green side" as well. "Even if policymakers chose to mandate a reduction in carbon dioxide," he states, "America cannot afford to close the door on coal." It's hard to argue his point here, especially if America continues to sit on its fat ass and do little to nothing about real alternative and renewable energy solutions.

Finally the Wyoming Senator concludes in saying, "America cannot abandon our nation's most abundant, affordable, and secure energy resource." Brilliant, just brilliant. He would have said the same thing about horses when a guy named Henry Ford was tinkering around with something called the horseless carriage.

P.S.: Here's a semi-related question to consider on the carbon capture technologies discussion. They want to capture carbon dioxide and store it underground—for how long? Forever? Even radioactive material breaks down to a harmless substance after enough time passes. Does carbon dioxide stored away for a long period of time magically transform back into oxygen?

1 comment:

haiku curmudgeon said...

Fortunately there are folks left in this country who value simple, clean, conservational and civic involvement. We may be "peeing into a storm" and getting our trousers wet. So what?

With government controlled by big money to the hookers and MOST (not all) citizens obsessed with gettin my share and gettin ahead, efforts to stick it to greed head ninnies may be one of the few remaining satisfactions available to us cranky old guys.

Have you considered an apprenticeship with Curmudgeons United?

Nicely done.