Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Best Energy Policy is No Energy Policy

By David Linton

I would hate to count the number of times I have heard over the course of the past year how we need to develop a national energy policy to insure our national energy security.  Sure, this sounds great.  Today the primary sources of our energy are those entities that hate America and its way of life.  We do need to move to a posture in our nation that seeks secure domestic sources of energy so as to prevent constraints to the flow of energy by those who hate us.

We have vast amounts of energy resources: coal, oil, natural gas, petroleum, wind, and solar.  We have been discovering surprising new sources of energy over the past few years.   It is far past time to move in a direction to develop these resources.  What policy should we implement?  What energy sources should we develop?  How should we go about developing them? 

While we talk about developing a coherent national energy policy, we should be clear that we do have a national energy policy now.  It may be haphazard.  It may be a patchwork.  But there is a national energy policy.  Our national energy policy is being forced on us by a restrictive national government.  EPA is threatening power generation with stringent emission limits.  The global warming pseudo science would ban the use of coal.  We subsidize many forms of green power.  The national government is prohibiting the development of the Keystone Pipeline.  Regulations and threatened regulations discourage energy development all across the nation.  Like it or not, this is a national energy policy.

Certainly, there are many voices that champion new energy policies.  The Republican Party is pushing the Keystone Pipeline.  There are those in Oklahoma and in the Dakotas that are encouraging gas development in those regions.  Wind power is making gains in the mid-west.  So which of these policies do we embrace?

I hope in this last question you see the circular reasoning of the whole fallacy of a “national energy policy.”  Any “national energy policy” suggests a policy set by our national regulators.  Discussing a “national energy policy” inherently suggests giving the power to make the call on what to pursue to those who regulate us.  We should have learned the lesson by now that those that regulate our lives do not make the best calls.  Our constitutional republic, for good or ill, is not designed to develop a good consistent policy on anything.  Our system is designed through power checks and balances to guard the liberty of the citizens against the power of the central government.

If we are to achieve a good energy policy that will insure national energy security, we must adopt the goal of having no energy policy at all.  We must approach the problem in a manner that is consistent with the way our system is designed.  We must handle it though government guarding liberty and not the policy developed within the interests of the regulators.  We must remove the regulatory shackles that restrict industry and the ingenuity of a free market place.  Our slave masters in Washington, D.C. are driven by control and reelection.  Our private industries are driven by profit.  Profit motive in this context is a good thing.  Allowing each individual entrepreneur assess the profit potential for each energy source in this nation will be the quickest way to energy independence.  By the very nature of the free market, each entrepreneur will seek to develop the most beneficial, efficient, and profitable form of energy available.   This is the best energy policy and will bring us energy security.

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