On May 30 the Wall Street Journal published an editorial blistering the Sierra Club for its emerging anti-natural gas campaign. All of it was spot on, except the editors gave the Sierra Club a pass on its true motives. More on that in a moment, but first the good stuff.
The editorial called attention to a new effort by the Sierra Club to kill the natural gas industry. That’s right, it’s not an effort to impose higher safety standards on behalf of some obscure creature, insect or God forbid, human beings. The “Beyond Natural Gas” campaign is being launched with the goal of shutting down the industry. Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club told the National Journal, “We’re going to be preventing new gas plants from being built wherever we can.” The new website promoting the effort says, “The natural gas industry is dirty, dangerous and running amok.”
If this sounds like bluster, consider the success the green lobby has had in blocking any nuclear plants from being built in the last 30-plus years or the huge amount of land that is off limits to oil and gas development or the devastation of the coal industry. Big Green may be misguided, but you have to respect their results-oriented mission.
WSJ did a nice job of exposing the irony of the Sierra Club’s position on natural gas, which has done a 180 degree turn since the emergence of the shale gas boom that has driven the cost of the clean-burning fuel from $8 per million BTUs to where it is today at $2.50. At this bargain basement price natural gas has crushed the prospects of the already economically challenged renewable energy sources so loved by the green lobby. The Green Machine praised the virtues of natural gas when it was expensive and appeared to be in short supply. But once horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing began unleashing enormous quantities of gas the Sierra Club suddenly stopped touting its low-carbon, clean burning credentials. Funny how that works.
The editors at WSJ pointed out other important results of the shale boom that the Sierra Club now wants to shut down, such as the countless thousands of jobs that have been created, not just in the industry, but in related manufacturing industries, most notably steel production. But, my point here isn’t just to repeat the obvious truths that the Journal explained to its readership. I need to point out what wasn’t mentioned.
We should all face the fact that the true goal of the Sierra Club, and other environmental activist groups, is to shut down as much economic growth as possible. But that’s only step one. The non-existent eco-utopia they are working toward necessitates that human impact on the planet not just be slowed, but be thrown into reverse. This is why any efficient energy production will always be the number one target of Big Green. They know their only hope of stopping the abhorrent impact of human beings on sacred Mother Earth is to wage war on the fuel lines that feed the development. Mark my words. If today some genius demonstrated that he could generate limitless supplies of energy from sand (making fossil fuels uneconomic) Big Green would not stand and cheer. The Sierra Club and other activist groups would quickly begin working on a website attacking the “terrible, dirty and dangerous” sand industry.
Whether it’s an attack on natural gas, oil, coal (or, who knows, even sand!), WSJ nailed it on the head. “It’s hard to imagine a campaign that poses a greater threat to the U.S. economy, energy security and American health.”