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Drill, Baby, Drill: Been There, Doing That - Sierra Daily
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Sierra Daily

Oct 19, 2011

Drill, Baby, Drill: Been There, Doing That

"9-9-9" aside, the most notable job-creating plan among Republican presidential candidates remains the same one we heard so much about in 2008: "Drill, Baby, Drill." That, in essence, is the economic plan put forward by Texas Governor Rick Perry:

His energy plan has four parts: use executive decrees to allow new or additional drilling in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico and federal lands in the West; roll back or weaken environmental regulations; dismantle the E.P.A. and replace it with a “scaled-down agency”; and reshape subsidies and tax credits for different parts of the energy industry, in what appears would be a move away from renewable energy.

The problem with extracting ourselves to prosperity, as Matt Yglesias points out, is that we're already trying it--and it's not working. "The premise that regulatory curtailment of natural resource extraction explains the recession has no evidence to back it up," he writes. "Employment in natural resource extraction is extremely robust," as evidence for which he appends this graph, from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis:Mining
Not the clearest in the world, perhaps, but red = U.S. Government jobs, green = private industry, and blue = thet mining and drilling sector. Obviously they're not hurting. Yglesias sums up:

Nothing about the current situation suggests that special regulatory favors to the resource extraction sector are a necessary part of the cure. If you have some independent freestanding belief that the United States at the end of the Bush administration was unduly interested in environmental protection, then fair enough. But these industries are growing despite any Obama-era regulatory initiatives and despite the general economic downturn.

Green jobs, of course, are growing too. But for many conservatives, it's become an article of faith that they somehow don't count. Great post on the subject from Mother Jones' Kevin Drum here, but this is his conclusion:

The logic seems to be (a) global warming is a myth, (b) therefore anything associated with global warming is bad, (c) solar power is associated with fighting global warming, so (d) solar power is bad. Or something like that. I certainly can't think of any other reason why Republicans are so unanimously in love with subsidies for nuclear and coal and so passionately opposed to renewable energy in nearly every form. It's as if supporting renewables is an implicit admission that clean energy is a good thing, which in turn is an implicit admission that global warming is real. And since that's a left-wing hippie thing to believe in, they can't support renewables.

--Paul Rauber



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