Following the Conservative Political Action Conference-known as CPAC-it has been reported that the faithful feel discouraged. Dr. Ben Carson, who emerged from the Conference as the new conservative darling, has stated that America is heading for failure. Generally, I agree. However, I see a chink in the armor.
The alliance of the environmental lobby and big government advocates have been winning-Obama is back in the White House, new cabinet members seem worse than the last, and the Keystone pipeline has become a battle line. With the victory, however, they've, perhaps, pushed too hard. A series of losses have put them on the defense-and you win on the offense.
Their losses haven't made headline news and the alliance is not likely to beat a hasty retreat, but I see an opening for a breakthrough.
Here are some of the recent reversals they've received:
¥ On March 20, the Supreme Court shot down "overzealous greens" that hoped to "hobble the logging industry by reclassifying rural storm water runoff under the Clean Water Act's 'point source' standards, which require costly federal permits." The Court ruled: "more effective regulation could be done by states and state foresters."
¥ Senator Dianne Feinstein's gun-ban bill became a victim of friendly fire when, in a March 18 meeting, Majority Leader Harry Reid notified a "frustrated Feinstein" that her assault-weapon ban "wouldn't be part of a Democratic gun bill."
¥ On March 15, liberal Bill Maher had an epiphany on his HBO show Real Time. Maher announced that rich people "actually do pay the freight in this country"-calling the taxes the rich pay: "outrageous" and "ridiculous." He warned his liberal friends: "you could actually lose me."
The list could continue to include NBC's ratings fall and Obama's sudden shift in relations with Republicans, but you get the idea.
"Marita," you might say, "this is an interesting list, and I get your point, but you write on energy, and none of this has anything to do with energy."
Here are some similar setbacks to the left's energy agenda:
¥ On January 25, the DC-based US Court of Appeals, in a unanimous decision, found that the EPA was mandating the use of cellulosic ethanol based on overly optimistic levels of production. The requirement for the fuel - which has not been produced in commercial quantities - has resulted in $8 million in fines which are ultimately passed on to consumer.
¥ Last month, regulators met in California "hoping to hash out a solution to the peculiar stresses placed on the state's network by sharp increases in wind and solar energy." The state is "running low on conventional plants, such as those fueled by natural gas" and now "it doesn't have the right mix." Utility executives are predicting rolling brown outs as early as this summer.
¥ March 20, another Solyndra-esque, government-funded solar panel manufacturer embarrassment came to light. SoloPower began the first round of layoffs just months after opening with a high-profile ribbon cutting and is now "selling some of its equipment" and "attempting to restructure its $197 million federal loan guarantee."
Again, this sampling of stories illustrates the cause for my optimism.
In war, when one side sees signs of weakness, it's time to go on the offensive. Our weapons are social media, email, and telephones. Here are some of the battles we could win if we join in the fight for American jobs, economic growth, and affordable energy.
¥ The Keystone pipeline is in the news due to the recently released State Department report. The pipeline has the unique ability to create jobs, spur economic growth, and lower the cost of gasoline through increased supply. Add your "comments." Tell the State department to end the four-year delay and approve the Keystone pipeline.
¥ Anti-surface mining ads running in Tennessee on March 19 are just the latest in the war on coal-raging against coal mining (which provides good paying jobs for thousands of Americans) and against coal-fueled power plants (with 300 plus scheduled for closure in the next few years and no possible replacement). We need an energy policy that works for each locale rather than one-size-fits-all requirements. For example, in New Mexico, we have coal-fueled power plants built right next to a coal mine, yet EPA regulations are shutting down five of the nine units. In the Northwest, hydropower is efficient and economical, but environmental groups are forcing their removal. Call or email the White House and tell them to make good on the "all of the above" promise and not limit or mandate specific electricity sources.
¥ Due to new technology and new applications of sixty-year-old technology, America now has an abundance of natural gas. Many markets across the globe need our natural gas-which could be liquefied and shipped worldwide and help the U.S. trade deficit. Companies should be allowed to sell their products to the highest bidder, but due to trade agreements and the slow approval process of applications to build new liquefied natural gas terminals, this boost to the economy is being stifled. Contact your senators and representative and tell them to oppose legislation that would limit liquefied natural gas exports.
There is more we could do, but together these simple steps-passed on to everyone you know through Facebook, Twitter, and your personal email list, and acted upon-can serve as the first wave of soldiers attacking a breach in defenses. Let's band together with a common strategy, a surge, that can turnaround the current direction and make America great again.
The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens' Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE).