Red White & Blue Hens

College students in Delaware who think right is right, and left is wrong. We study hard, party hard, and play hardball.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Energy Policy Disinformation

Maybe some of you saw the College Dems with a kiosk in Trabant today. I did and stopped to pick up their flyer. It was all about Bush and how he is destroying the enviroment. While Republicans and Democrats may disagree on energy and enviromental policy, some of the Left's arguements are unfounded and simply hypocritical.

For example, the letter (if my scanner was working you'd be able to see it) chastizes Bush for subsidizing six new nuclear power plants. While I am impressed that they didn't go for a twofer by writing "nucular," it does point out a hypocrisy about nuclear power:
But, as Peter Huber and Mark Mills remind us in a book ("The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, the Virtue of Waste, and Why we will Never Run out of Energy") considerably less self-indulgent than Miss Fonda's, the substitution has been outrageously wasteful. It takes four tons of coal to provide the power needs of one inhabitant of Chicago's Lake Shore Drive for a year. A few ounces of enriched uranium could cover the same need. There is also the damage to the environment. The central hypocrisy of the green movement in our era is that anti-nuclear policy has driven the US to use the hydrocarbon fuels so much opposed by the anti-global warming movement. Or, as Mr. Huber puts it: "If we had built all the plants that were in the pipeline at the time of Three Mile Island, we would have reduced current coal combustion sufficiently to satisfy the Kyoto treaty."

In pretty much the rest of it, they complain on two ends. They call for better cheaper energy and lament what they view as enviromental loss at the same time.

While both sides are searching for a way to meet energy needs, the Dems do not offer oppurtunity, just contradictory rhetoric.


  • At 12:22 PM, Blogger M. McKain said…

    Well, at least someone stopped at our little Kiosk. lol.

    Honestly, I hadn't read the info we put out before I sat down at the booth, but I was also rather surprised to see "nucular" energy (just to keep Ryan from being disappointed) listed on there as an absolute negative. Even though the risks are higher and the refuse more dangerous, I think it is a better alternative to some of the other fuels we use.

    Still, I think we need to look beyond our old conventional sources to newer forms of bio-diesel, hydrogen power, etc. instead of rewarding the profitable oil companies for gouging consumers in a time of crisis. This is not rhetoric, but steps environmentally conscious people have been urging for a quarter century now. If environmental awareness cannot force the issue, hopefully the almighty market can; as oil prices continue to climb, we need to take these options more seriously and not just look for new means and locations to exploit mother Earth.

  • At 1:56 PM, Blogger St. Joan of Arc said…

    Mother Earth?

    Anyway, the problem is that environuts in this country grab at too many issues rather than focusing on one. You want to focus on clean air and getting rid of fossil fuels? We should do that rather than getting all wrapped up in "we're all going to die if one more nuke is created and all the rest of them aren't destroyed!" happy-fun-time.

    Heck, I'd LOVE to find something that makes us less reliant on foreign oil (Even though I'd like to drill ANWR - NOW - the polar bear thing was hilarious the other day, by the way, did anyone see that?) because anything I can do to piss off the terrorists and give them less control over my life and finances is fine by me.

    So - turns out Three Mile Isle didn't do anything - the amount of radiation it emitted in that one week was equivalent to the amount an individual receives from the sun in a years time. That's the same as 1/6 the amount of radiation in a chest X-ray. No one died. No one was injured. All those rumors? They're rumors. (Kind of like the stuff the news media made up about NOLA). (oct 2005, popular mechanics)

    Chernobyl, it turns out, didn't have the lasting effects that everyone thought it would, either.

    Having a nuclear plant nearby isn't the same as having a nuclear bomb dropped on your house.

  • At 4:17 PM, Blogger M. McKain said…

    Sorry to get all "hippy" on you - I know any recognition that we are part of life on Earth and not masters of it disturbs some people.

    Chernobyl killed people...I'd call that a "lasting effect". However, Soviet construction of nuclear plants was different from ours and was admittedly much more prone to problems. With TMI, the fact that we came so close to disaster, quite frankly, scared the hell out of a lot of people, and rightfully so. A meltdown in a populous area would be disasterous, albeit not as bad as a nuclear weapon.

    I agree that that environmentalist have trouble focusing their efforts (witness the number of political parties and activists groups within the US). Unfortunatly, some of the most dedicated activist fail to realize that their concerns are all connected and that every little positive step is progress for the whole. Of course, with the current administration, any positive progress at all has been notably absent.

  • At 6:33 PM, Blogger DERepublican said…

    Not focusing on one issue is only part of the problem for "environmentalists."

    I say that in quotes because I believe myself to be an envorionmentalist- albeit not in the way you do. The difference, in my opinion, is inserting common sense solutions in coordination with the supported cause, and actually taking logical steps towards improving our environment.

    What is the goal of environmentalists? Cleaner Air? Cleaner Water? More scenic views instead of clutter? I think we can agree a majority of people would like a clean environment.

    All one has to do to investigate the differences between clean and dirty environments is to take a simple trek into two Delaware locations: Claymont and Greenville. In Greenville there are clean streets, route 52 just got named a National scenic byway, the air is clean and refreshing, the tap water is healthy.

    When travelling to Claymont, the air stinks, the roads have litter all around (which I help clean up through the Adopt A Highway program), and the water is, in most circumstances, brown.

    In Claymont people vote 65% for Democrats, in Greenville people vote 65% for Republicans. Now, the argument can be made that "oh Greenville's richer..." And in that basic argument- you're right.

    However, the main focus should be this: In Greenville the citizens themselves take action to have their environment clean, whereas in Claymont the citizens don't take the necessary steps, and are reliant on the Government to take any action. Now, does the government take any action to improve the environment in Claymont? The answer is simple: NO

    With the Cherry Island landfill, has Minner done anything? No. With the Motiva Plant, have the Democrats done anything to help make the plant safer and more environmentally friendly? No. With the Citisteel plant, what have the Democrats done to make it safer and more environmentally friendly? No, although improvements have been made by the owndership that in the past 5 years- I thought it was shut down because the decrease in pollutants was so great.

    Recently, Motiva was just fined like $16 million or something. That's just great, fine the polluters... punish them because we love the environment! ... Wait... how does fining them, do ANYTHING to help the environment, or make the plant safer? It does absolutely nothing!

    Why not?... How about we investigate motiva, and bring in some experts from around the country and see what can be done to make it safer and less pollutant- while respecting the industry. Why not, instead of writing fines, work with the owners of Motiva, or Cherry Island, or CitiSteel?

    Well... that would just make too much sense that The Democrats DON'T. They'd rather bitch and complain about the environment, then actually get things done.

    Why don't people recycle in Claymont? Are they just lazy, or did the education system never teach them the importance of recycling? Why hasn't the county- which is DOMINATED by Democrats, worked to replace the piping system in Claymont, which is circa 50 years old and is the culbrite from unhealthy water?

    The point is, they don't... and personally Mike, that's my biggest beef with Democrats- they talk talk talk... but they don't get anything done. And seriously, if you're as concerned as I think you are Mike- you should be asking yourself why they aren't. You should be investigating REAL common sense solutions to ... not just punish companies, but to actually improve the environment.

    (apologies for the long comment, you can feel free to IM me Mike, for more information on what i listed- DERepublican)

  • At 8:07 PM, Blogger M. McKain said…

    Well, unfortunately you're a little out of my league with New Castle County politics, as I’m a Sussex Countian myself where there’s ne’re a Democrat to be seen. However, if I see Chris Coons sometime this semester, they are certainly legitimate questions to ask either him or some of the state-level leadership.

    You also raise some interesting questions regarding SES and environmental awareness. Again, I'm not really able to add anything intelligent on it; unfortunately, though I am as concerned as you say, the environment is one of my weaker areas as far as content knowledge goes.

    As far as Democrats being all talk, to my knowledge, they made several positive advancements under the Clinton administration. Now, unlike some, I don't see "advancement" as just punishing the industries that drive our economy. Rather, I think we need to work through the market to encourage firms and industries to be more environmentally conscious and efficient at the same time. You're correct that the empty rhetoric that comes from both sides from time to time doesn't really accomplish anything, and if all you say is true, local Democrats need to do more to act on their constituency's concerns. Fixing our local environment is a crucial first step to greater widespread improvement. However, this is ultimately a national and even international concern, as the effects of bad environmental policy knows no state or national boundaries.

  • At 1:17 AM, Blogger DERepublican said…

    First, let me say that you've earned my respect Mike. I appreciate your ability to think for yourself, however you should watch out or it'll turn you Conservative ;-).

    Now, to business. You said: "However, this is ultimately a national and even international concern, as the effects of bad environmental policy knows no state or national boundaries."

    That is, exactly where "environmentalist" have gone wrong. Now, remember those smokey bear commercials. If we all do our part and report forest fires, and don't leave fires unattended in the forest- there won't be forest fires. Now, forget droughts, and lightening- i want to focus on the "policy" behind that ad.

    It was essentially saying: If we all do our part, we CAN reduce forest fires. In a way, the kyoto protocol attempted to say the same of countries: If we all do our part, we can reduce pollution and have a clean environment. The difference? Smokey was talking to individual citizens, and Kyoto was talking to Governments.

    Like the Claymont/Greenville scenario I mentioned earlier, there is no questions that citizens were and continue to be more effective than the Government. Conservatives apply this to taxes, apply it to beauracracy versus private enterprise, and it can also be applied- and really is best tested when it comes to the environment.

    Here's a very simple, real scenario for you to ponder. My grandparents, myself, those in my neighborhood- we all recycle. The ability to recycle however, has been reduced as of late. The number of available recycling depots keep decreasing, and now we have to drive a distance to recycle. However, we still do.

    When you go into a government building, courthouse, the capital building in Dover, etc. Do you see recyling bins? Is the government active in setting the example for the citizens by being efficient with its waste? Absolutely not. Everything goes into the trash can, and the cherry island landfill continues to grow.

    Waste Management realizes that many private citizens want to do their part and recycle, and offers to have a driveby recycling pick-up, just like trash, at a cost however (and introducing the economic factor). That's great and innovative on their part- i applaud them. However, they're actively lobbying the DE state government to FORCE NCC residents to accept the driveby recycling pick up (which is counterproductive as mentioned before).

    All of a sudden, we're back to the "punish the polluters" philosophy, by FORCING citizens to accept the pickup whether they want to or not. This won't increase the amount of recycled goods, it will only increase the amount that waste management is able to charge.

    However, what if citizens were given an incentive to recycle? In Michigan, many years ago- there were incredible littering problems. Now, on your soda bottle you can see there's a 10 cent bottle refund if you recycle it (we can discuss the way it's implemented poorly now later- i'm not going there now). The result? Homeless started scouring trash cans in detroit, kids would decide not to litter- and would turn in their bottles instead so they could cash out and get a video game or baseball (remember sandlot).

    That new policy encouraged people to recycle. Now, in DE we're trying to punish people to recycle... and then not rewarding them when they do? How is that productive? The point is it isn't. It favors a special interest above what should take place.

    Right now, there are many in DE, like my grandparents, who recycle out of the good of their hearts and their care for the environment they live in. If there was an incentive to recycle, how many more would begin to do so? If what you wanted to recycle was weighed, and you recieved cash back? Or if you were able to list it as a deduction on your taxes? Are all other possibilities- to my grandparents the benefit of having clean air is enough, however others may need an increased incentive.

    What if recycling was encouraged more, in the same way that the smokey bear ads encouraged citizens to be wary of leaving campfires unattended, or throwing lit cigarettes into the woods? Doing so encourages the average citizen to do his/her fair share, and it doesn't punish them in the process.

    To address the Clintonesque environmental legislation- namely the clean air act: It did exactly what you said would be counterproductive.

    "Now, unlike some, I don't see 'advancement' as just punishing the industries that drive our economy."

    The Clean Air Acts main policy is just that, regulations and fines. If you produce to much carbon dioxide- you're fined (or a Democrat favorite) if you produce too much sulfur, you're fined. The Clean Air Act did nothing to reduce actual pollution. If you take an investigative look at it, it reduced "levels" aka levels of regulation- what you can be fined at, but did nothing to reduce the "levels" of actual pollution. Most plants just "paid the fine" like Motiva just did.

    You then said, "Rather, I think we need to work through the market to encourage firms and industries to be more environmentally conscious and efficient at the same time."

    It's going to kill you when I say this, but Read Bush's Clear Skies Initiative- because it's just that (or an unbiased piece about it). The overall goal is, remember, to reduce pollution. We've established that it's best when we work with the businesses that the enviornmentalists goal can be completed. However, the issue for Democrats is it goes against many common "principles" of the democratic party today- coupled with their desire to not give President Bush the Issue. One of those principles being 'tax cuts' and how they're applied to businesses.

    The Clear Skies Initiative basically says just that: Businesses- we want to work with you to reduce pollution. If you look at the Citisteel plant I mentioned before, they implemented the new technologies- pollution is down. The technology is there in many cases to reduce pollution- however it IS very expensive, so expensive most companies feel it wouldn't be fiscally responsible to implement it at this point in time.

    In fact, it put those at citisteel out of business. They were essentially forced to sell the company on account of the new technology. I believe it's now the HIG or something plant now (everyone still calls it Citisteel though).

    Now, what if the Fed was willing to offer taxbreaks under the conditions that the new technology is implemented, thereby aliviating some of the drastic cost? What if instead of punishing the businesses, the fed offered its hand in making the resources readily available?

    Although not perfect, and given that the results wouldn't be immediate, but would take a great deal of time (we have alot of plants in the US), and that it would (Heaven forbid) give big businesses tax breaks... this plan I believe- actually works to bring about real, tangible results as far as the environment is concerned.

    Ok I think i covered Citizen versus Government efficiency, counterproductive versus encouraging environmental policy, and Clean Air versus Clear Skies... once again- sorry for the long post, however I hope it was informative for you.

  • At 1:29 AM, Blogger delacrat said…

    While I do agree that in cities, especially poorer cities, trash and litter is the first enviro issue to tackle before more broad goals....

    But wtf? Greenville is the richiest area in Delaware - the millionaires all live there -- of course it's got freakin clean streets. And this you attribute to Republicans?

    This logic is awful. Millionaires and richy people can afford to pay for more clean up. Plus they get gov't kickbacks and attention because they also donate to politicians. Of course Greenville is cleaner.

    I can't believe you are calling Claymonters lazy about their own environment. I find that truly offensive, and you're upper-middle-class attitude is highly annoying. My father lives in Claymont, and I have friends who also live there - and they do their part recycling and being responsible, so back off.

  • At 6:28 AM, Blogger DERepublican said…

    Lol... what intellect you've just displayed delacrat- you've just earned yourself a bronze star!

    "While I do agree that in cities, especially poorer cities, trash and litter is the first enviro issue to tackle before more broad goals..." Now, Saying 95% of our Nation's cities are controlled by Democrat Mayors, why hasn't this issue been tackled? If it should be tackled before more broad goals.... they why isn't it being tackled in cities? You screwed yourself on the first point- way to start off swinging at air.

    "Greenville is the richiest area in Delaware- the millionaires all live there - of course it's got freakin clean streets. And this you attribute to Republicans?" First, I don't think anywhere when I was arguing for citizen-action versus Government-inaction that I attributed the cleanliness of Greenville to Republicans. You err when you make the assumption that in order to have clean streets you have to be a millionaire or live in an extremely wealthy place. In that case, then you're saying that the cities will never be clean. In the case, why be environmentalists if it's a lost cause? Talk about impaired logic!

    "This logic is awful. Millionaires and richy people can afford to pay for more clean up. Plus they get gov't kickbacks and attention because they also donate to politicians. Of course Greenville is cleaner." You attribute their "freakin clean streets" to gov't kickbacks and because they donate to politicians. Okay, who's the Governor? Who's the lt. Governor? Who's the treasuer? who controls the county? Please... You're saying it's clean because they donate to those that run for office... what bull. Why don't you do some research. First you attribute the cleanliness to their being rich, then tie it to the government. Make up your mind. (note to any reader with the ability to reason and WANTS to learn- i predicted this argument in my first comment, and made my point very clear aside from this pettiness)

    "I can't believe you are calling Claymonters lazy about their own environment." I never did. There are those that recycle in Claymont, however if you look at the facts, and the data... (just contact wastemanagement for it) you'll find that those in Greenville, Brandywine, and Newark all recycle at higher rates than those in New Castle, Wilmington, and Claymont. Who knows, maybe it's just because they're rich and can afford the curbside pick up? In which case, I'm proved right AGAIN in saying the policy should be to give incentives for recycling. Why don't you read it again (both of them).

    "I find that truly offensive, and you're upper-middle-class attitude is highly annoying. My father lives in Claymont, and I have friends who also live there - and they do their part recycling and being responsible, so back off."
    I find it interesting that just because I'm a Republican, and I definately bitchslapped you in terms of environmental knowlege- that you try to apply the "upper-middle-class" bullshit on me. I don't think I ever said anything about your father or friends, and find your attitude extremely-immature. The whole "back off" thing... yeah- I think last time i heard that was in middle school. Grow up.

    Maybe if you would stop whining and complaining, go do some research, and apply some scholarship and intellect to the debate for a change, then i'll take you seriously.

  • At 11:45 AM, Blogger M. McKain said…

    To be fair, Delecrat actually just impugned an "upper middle class attitude," and did not actually generally apply that lable. I think her general point is that many Republicans occationally look down their noses at people, even if unintentionally. Kind of like Barbara Bush saying some of the people were better off displaced from their homes in New Orleans. Obviously anything you said wasn't that blatant, but it still must have come across that way to Dana.

    At any rate, like I said, I don't know much about the areas in question, but from what I gather, I'd imagine there are several factors involved in the difference. Lower income areas tend to have a higher population density for one thing, so more people logically make more of a mess. Moreover, I'd imagine that in Greenville, its quite a social taboo to have trash in or around your yard, so there are social incentives to keeping at least your local area clean (or paying your butler, etc. to do it). Finally, I would imagine their political contributions are greater, and they can use their clout to bring in clean up crews, or else can simply afford curb-side recycling. Of course, that's assuming they actually recycle - we never established that they did moreso than the other area, only that there was less trash laying around. If I was a sociology major, you may have given me an interesting research topic.

    Now, on to the matter of "you should watch out or it'll turn you Conservative ;-)" - lol, not likely. You're just lucky you're out of my area of expertise - I was just hoping someone else would come along and take you on. I will say, though, that I try to keep an open mind and am not afraid to disagree with certain elements of my party on occation. All that recycling and stuff you do - maybe you're just more of a liberal than you think? ;-)

  • At 7:33 PM, Blogger DERepublican said…

    Not a chance. Democrats err by assuming Republicans are all upper class white snubs. Republicans care about the environment too, the difference between Democrats and REpublicans- as I listed above, i that Republicans have feasible and realistic proposals to accomplish the goal of the common envirnmentalist (decrease pollution, etc- I said this before), whereas Democrats would rather simply punish the polluter (which does absolutely nothing to decreas pollution).

    Republicans are caring people too. Wasn't an article posted a long time ago on this site detailing how Republicans are better lovers... ;-) I'll leave you with that tangent.


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