The NRCC Wants You to Stay Hooked on Oil and Coal Forever

by Steven Biel

March 31, 2009

Greenpeace is not a partisan organization, and some of the best champions for the environment that we’ve ever had in Congress have been Republicans. Heck, some of my best friends are Republicans!

But a news release from the NRCC, sent out to the congressional districts of 54 Democrats whom they think they can knock off in the next election, demands a reply. The NRCC, prodded on by Big Oil and Big Coal, wants you to believe that President Obama’s commitment to save the climate and the environment by building a cleaner, cheaper, renewable energy economy is just one big tax and that we’re all better off staying hooked on oil and coal forever.

At the risk of giving their disinformation more air time, here’s the gist of it:

Will Jim Himes Support Devastating Energy Tax?
Connecticut Families Would Suffer from Skyrocketing Home Heating Costs Under “Cap-and-Tax”
Washington- Despite Democrats’ promises to deliver tax relief to families who need it the most, the recent budget proposal from the White House includes a “cap-and-trade” provision that should more appropriately be named the “cap-and-tax” provision, because if it became law it would raise energy taxes on every single person who flips on a light switch.  As Congress takes the President’s federal budget under consideration, Connecticut families deserve to know if Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) would support such a devastating energy tax proposal.

Where to start?

Look, the biggest energy tax Americans pay every day of our lives is the cost of oil and coal. Every time you flip on the light switch or fill up your gas tank, you’re paying the equivalent of a huge tax–not to government, but to Big Oil and Big Coal. Your hard-earned dollars are going straight to Exxon-Mobil, Peabody Coal, and the Saudi royal family.

As global demand for energy continues to skyrocket in the coming years, and supply remains stable or shrinks, oil and coal costs will only go up, up, and up some more. The $4 a gallon gas we paid after Katrina was just a hint of what’s coming.

Big Oil and Big Coal want you to believe that it’s cheaper to stay totally dependent on them and their product. How convenient for them. Don’t buy it. The sun and wind are free. Oil and coal are not. It’s just common sense that free is cheaper than not free.

Greenpeace’s recent report Energy Revolution: A Blueprint for Solving Global Warming shows that an aggressive transition to clean energy will pay for itself two times over within 20 years. Why does the NRCC want us to pay double when we could pay half?

Because the coal and oil industries are so heavily automated, clean energy creates two or even three times more jobs than fossil fuels. Why does the NRCC want us to have half as many jobs when we can have double, or even triple?

By investing in a clean energy economy, we can free ourselves from the hundreds of billions of dollars a year that Americans pay in gas bills and electric bills, and other fossil fuel costs.

If a homeowner installs solar panels and makes their home more energy efficient, that investment pays for itself in no time and saves money on electric bills forever. We can do the same thing economy-wide by investing in clean energy and energy efficiency and getting off oil. That’s not a tax. That’s a smart investment.

The oil and coal industries are in a panic right now because they have America by the you-know-whats, and that’s how they like it. They’ll do and say anything to keep America completely dependent on them and their product.

We can either start transitioning to a clean energy economy now, or Americans will get soaked with ever-rising energy costs for the rest of our lives, literally.

Of course, unchecked global warming will be the biggest destroyer of wealth of all. Increased drought, floods, more intense hurricanes and wildfires, worsened water shortages, and rising sea levels will destroy as much as 20% of worldwide GDP, according to former World Bank chief economist Nicholas Stern.

But even if you don’t care a lick about global warming, you’d have to be crazy (or in the pocket of industry) to think that it’s smarter to stay hooked on oil and coal when cheap, clean, homegrown energy is available right here, right now.

So my question for the NRCC is this: "Why do you want America to stay hooked on oil and coal forever?"

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