Monday, August 31, 2009

No Power to the People!

My recent letter to National Review magazine, commenting on Mark Steyn's brilliant essay.

Re: Ethiopia Comes to You, by Mark Steyn

Dear Sirs:
Mark Steyn's recent skewering of the anti-population lobby could be applied in equal measure to the anti-energy lobby. Both are born of the environmental movement, whose blatant inhumanity places Mother Earth on a higher ethical scale than people. Talk about your pagan gods!

The legislators in my gone-crazy home state of Pennsylvania recently passed a bill requiring electric utilities to produce increasing LESS power, in graduated steps over the next five years, than the unhampered economy would demand. The environmentalists--such as my state representative, Chris Ross--claim that conservation efforts will make up the difference. But here lies a great logical fallacy. One does not produce electricity by conserving it. In fact electricity CANNOT be conserved; it can only be produced. The raw materials of nature, such as oil, waterfalls, uranium, etc. are not energy. They are merely oil, waterfalls, uranium, etc. One may say that energy lies trapped within them, awaiting the ingenuity of man to release it. But NOT releasing the energy accomplishes nothing of economic benefit.

Not harnessing the materials of nature--to avoid the energy police, and don't think they won't come!--forces man to move down his consumer preference scale. The lights must be turned off somewhere; a factory must close somewhere. Devices that use less energy in order to accomplish the same economic benefit divert resources that would have gone to satisfy something man valued more. The owners of businesses and homes have always invested in energy saving devices, without the heavy hand of governmental mandates, when it became clear that the savings would outstripped the cost. But governmental mandates to speed up this process merely lower everyone's standard of living. Unemployment and poverty follow.

PECO, my local utility, wants me to allow them to shut off my power when demand exceeds the government-mandated maximum supply. Of course, these peaks occur during very hot weather, when everyone runs his air conditioner. Who is most likely to sign up for such a program? The elderly, because they are trying to stretch their fixed income over increasingly expensive necessities. Will Representative Ross or any of the environmental lobby take responsibility for the deaths that will result? Not on your life!

As Mark Steyn might say--No Power to the People!

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