Saturday, May 20, 2006

Mike Whalen and his fossil fuel friends

I get caught up in Google moments when trying to think up blog posts. That happened yesterday.

A Mike Whalen email arrived in my inbox with a link to his newest TV spot and I found myself finally interested in the 1st district race. I really haven’t paid that much attention to it, there are plenty of other bloggers spending keyboard time on this race. But it was Whalen’s ad that just seemed so odd, the forced happy with Whalen almost giggling at key points in the ad. Giggling?

I did the usual Google search, although not a blog Google, and found the usual stuff. The one interesting thing is Whalen’s involvement with the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) think tank out of Texas. He’s a major contributor and honorary policy wonk.

Curious, I went through the NCPA website and found the typical Republican leaning policy ideas, but there was a definite industry tilt in the energy policy section.

Texas…energy policy…bad attitude about renewables… hmm…oil & fossil fuel companies.

It certainly seems like the entire energy policy section is a front for the fossil fuel industry’s government relations shops. Just a couple of quotes for the flavor:

A multibillion-dollar government crusade to promote renewable energy for electricity generation, now in its third decade, has resulted in major economic costs and unintended environmental consequences. While previous renewable capacity built with liberal government subsidies is widely acknowledged to have been uneconomic and is at risk with falling electricity prices, future renewable capacity will be challenged by the rapidly falling costs and prices of traditional sources. (link)

However, abundant supplies of renewable resources do not guarantee abundant supplies of affordable energy. Even with sizable subsidies, renewable energy is generally more expensive than energy produced from nonrenewable sources. We rely on oil, natural gas, coal and even nuclear power today because they provide us with more efficient and affordable energy than renewable alternatives. And they are likely to do so for many years to come. (link)

Ethanol would likely disappear from the marketplace absent federal subsidies and mandates. Like so much of the pork Congress bestows upon special interests, ethanol is bad for the economy, bad for consumers and bad for the environment.

Corn deserves a place on the nation's dinner table for its nutritional value, but it doesn't belong in the gas tanks of millions of U.S. motor vehicles. (link)

I was surprised by the NCPA's flagrant anti-ethanol, anti-wind, anti anything but oil & natural gas bias in their policy work, and I thought I should make other people aware of this stuff. Oops. I think most insiders probably already know this story, as the MSM & bloggers covering the first district wrote about Whalen’s connection to NCPA back in March .

I’m not an insider and I haven’t been paying attention to this race, so I might represent a more typical voter just tuning into the candidates. As a mildly interested primary voter, if I new about Mike Whalen’s big dollar support for a group working against wind and ethanol policy, he wouldn’t get my vote.


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