Natural Gas NOW
The actions of attorneys general in three Northeast states, not to mention their governors, shows an elitist energy politics disease has infected the region.
An elitist energy politics disease has infected three different Northeast states, with the attorney general offices in Massachusetts, New York and Vermont and the Governors of two of those states all going in the tank for policies designed to keep energy infrastructure and production as far away from the gentry ruling class as possible.
The efforts of New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to get the NRDC man of the year award for opposing fracking, pipelines and anything else associated with natural gas development have been noted on this blog more than once, his effort to stop tree cutting for the Constitution Pipeline being the latest, but hardly the first, instance.
Martha Healey, the Attorney General of Massachusetts has taken a similar tack, using money from another wealthy funder of fractivism (the Barr Foundation) to finance a junk science study that purports to show no need for any more pipelines through the tony neighborhoods of her state.
Now comes the Attorney General of Vermont, another bastion of replanted rich Manhattanites, to intimidate anyone who dares oppose windmills. As readers of this blog know, I have no issue with wind power, having been involved in multiple such projects. I just don’t like the subsidies and the false argument that wind and solar are all we need, as if they could replace natural gas. In fact, I don’t care any more for wind project NIMBYs than I do fractivist NIMBYs. They’re all the same people and irrational to the nth degree. They do deserve to be heard, though, and the thought that a state attorney general would attempt to shut them down with legal threats is frightening, although it borders on poetic justice.
I say poetic justice because Vermonters for a Clean Environment is another of those completely unreasonable groups committed to scenery over people. Go to their website and you’ll find this, which sets the immediately recognizable tone:
VCE’s mission is to raise the voices of Vermonters
Bringing environmental justice and corporate accountability to Vermont communities since 1999.
You’ll find, in perusing the site, that the group pretty much opposes all development, energy or otherwise. They’re strictly “last man in, close the door” types. They don’t want much of anything and they don’t like wind, as this video also illustrates:
These are the same people who oppose pipeline projects, of course, so how ironic is it that the Attorney General of their state, obviously elected by the same people, is attacking them. Yes, the Vermont Attorney General’s office is going after Vermonters for a Clean Environment and attempting to intimidate them in hopes of stifling their opposition to favored wind projects. The Attorney General’s office has written to Annette Smith of Vermonters for a Clean Environment and told here she might be illegally practicing law by helping others make filings before the state’s Public Service Board (PSB):
The letter is nothing short of ridiculous, of course. Mr, Chen, the signer, makes a point of stating non-attorneys can participate in PSB proceedings and then argues non-attorneys can’t practice law, by which he means helping others participate. It’s utter nonsense and if there were any validity to the argument, then we’d be using it to stop the Delaware Riverkeeper from training intervenors in FERC pipeline proceedings. It’s a very enticing thought, and perhaps a good argument for wind energy companies to make, but not one we want attorneys general making if we have any respect for free speech.
What is so fascinating about this, though, is the worm turned for Vermonters for a Clean Environment. One minute, they’re opposing fracking and getting their politically correct governor and legislature to enact a meaningless moratorium against (no gas below that granite) and the next minute that same politically correct leadership is turning on them because they also hate utility scale wind. You’re only allowed to oppose stuff that’s not politically correct in Vermont; that’s the Attorney General’s message.
The whole episode is delightfully ironic in that sense, of course, as eltist energy politics turns around and bites itself, but do we really want attorneys general pulling these kinds of stunts, very similar to the way Eric Schneiderman attempted to intimidate small towns along the Delaware when they dared to speak up fro fracking? No, this a dangerous trend; attorney generals shouldn’t be allies of special interest non-profits or practitioners of elitist energy politics. We can’t have them attempting to shut down wind opposition speech with these tactics any more than fracking.
What is also troubling is the obvious catering to the political correct and what is not politically correct is anything that goes against the interest of the ruling gentry class. We see that with Andrew Cuomo’s New York version elitist energy politics with respect to both natural gas (he wants more as long as it’s not produced in the state) and nuclear. The latter serves to illustrate the point; especially, this excerpt from a Power magazine post on a lawsuiot being brought by Entergy against New York for its actions against the Indian Point nuclear facility:
The company noted in its complaint that the state has repeatedly attempted to block continued operation of the facilities because it believes that Indian Point “poses a nuclear safety risk to the surrounding population.” It countered: “NYSDOS’s assertion is incorrect: In fact, Indian Point is carefully operated and comprehensively regulated by the NRC.”
It also underscored the state’s differing treatment of three upstate nuclear plants—including Entergy’s own FitzPatrick plant, which it has decided to permanently close owing to “deteriorating economics.” It pointed out that as recently as December 2, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared that “elimination of Upstate nuclear facilities, operating under valid federal licenses, would eviscerate the emission reductions achieved through the State’s renewable energy programs, diminish fuel diversity, increase price volatility, and financially harm host communities.”
“Aside from the coastal management objection, the latest example of the state’s attempts to encroach on the federal government’s nuclear safety management of Indian Point is an investigation of the plant, launched last month by the New York Department of Public Service. Entergy has written a letter to the New York State Public Service Commission objecting to that probe in part because it pre-empts federal regulation,” the company told POWER.
As Entergy points out, Cuomo says nuclear energy is just fine, even critically important, for Upstate New York, but it is no damned good on the Hudson. What accounts for the contrasting views of the governor? Obviously, the gentry ruling class that lives along the lower Hudson River. That’s the essence of elitist energy politics; it’s the NRDC gang’s interests over those of the Southern Tier with respect to natural gas, the interests of wealthy Hudson River homeowners over those of upstate communities when it comes to nuclear and the interests of politically correct wind developer cronies over less politically correct NIMBYs in Vermont.
There’s no logic to any of it; only the exercise of elitist energy politics in favor of the connected members of the gentry class. No wonder the Northeast is in so much trouble and people are leaving in droves. Massachusetts, New York and Vermont have become nothing but fiefdoms of the wealthy and politically connected.