Ken Johnson
Grand Junction Free Press Opinion Columnist

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April 24, 2013
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JOHNSON: Enviros lose sight that coal, oil are still needed

Do we say "goodbye" to oil and gas production in Colorado?

The BLM has agreed with the radical side of the environmental movement on oil shale acreage the government can lease. It's a "maybe in the future" idea now.

We have more new regulations for drilling and fracking and just about everything oil and gas exploration does. (Not that fracking was a big issue in the state, but hey, we have to ignore history and oil industry progress. Seems like conforming to our national paranoia is more important that reality.)

Things are getting tougher nationally, too.

The Sierra Club has gone "active." It is suing the EPA to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline. The stated goal is to make it impossible for Canadian oil from tar sands to be piped to Gulf Coast refineries.

It won't even let North Dakota oil go there, so that new and giant source of our own oil has to move mostly by rail.

Does anyone want to deal with facts instead of slogans? Like, we can wish all we want for an immediate "green" energy world. It can't happen because change comes a step at a time, over many years.

The goal may be fine; the myth that we can have only electric cars without building new power plants is not. Solar and wind need our support and we do need to phase out "fossil fuel." Like coal, oil and gas. We just might quit kidding ourselves that it can happen instantly.

An economist Bill Watkins says, today's way of trying to get anything done faces DURT - delay, uncertainty, regulation and taxes.

Those are the weapons used to make sure we don't let anything "damage" the environment, whatever that is.

For sure, Colorado is well along on the delay and regulation front. Uncertainty means even more delay because investors and job creators don't want to take the risk in trying to out-guess the environment gang.

The cost of doing business keeps rising because bureaucrats, activists and politicians pander to our good intentions. That pandering sounds good, but the result is any competitive edge we might have had gets lost.

Despite the well-meaning and needed attention to cleaning up air, water and lands, have we taken stupid pills? Do we really believe we're going to wipe out coal, and then oil, in short order so we can be ALL solar and wind?

Do we really think the we can deal with climate change overnight, if we ever agree that it's real?

Ken is founder of the Grand Junction Free Press and former owner/publisher of The Daily Sentinel. He spends his time between the Grand Valley and California.

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