Renewables religion is dangerous
It could destroy our nation's best opportunity to get strong and create more jobs.
On Monday, we interviewed Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., an energy and mineral-rich state. He was holding a conference on the economy, including a presentation involving the Bakken, which will soon be producing 1 million barrels a day, up from about 300,000 a couple of years ago.
I thought: Here we go, commonsense senator from a reasonable state where mining jobs had always been a mainstay of the economy. So I asked a benign question about whether they would be discussing the positive prospects of all the newfound energy in this country and what it means for the U.S. economy, given the Bakken segment of his conference.
The senator wasted no time getting right to the heart of the matter: the importance of renewable energy. I almost fell out of my chair. I figured this was the one senator who might actually admit that we are close to energy independence on the continent, provided we can get the oil and gas where it is needed, something that would create a huge number of jobs. Nope, it's all about renewables, all about subsidized power. It's all about the government helping an industry that can't solve the big issue, which is how to stop the importation of oil from countries that aren't friendly with the United States while hiring many more people in this country. I figured he would at least give me some love on natural gas, which is cleaner than so many other fuels, certainly dirty diesel, which is responsible for 25% of our imported fuel.
I pressed. How about all of the jobs that could be created if we just had a program that could get the unemployed where the jobs are in the Bakken and the Eagle Ford and the other shales that are oil and gas rich but people poor.
Nope, he wanted to talk about training people. Darn it, the companies will train them. They are willing to pay well above the nation's average if they can just find a way to get the people to these godforsaken places. The government doesn't need to train a soul.
I was going to follow up with a question about Keystone, but I knew it was just hopeless.
This squandered opportunity is painful, even as objection after objection has been met. Two years ago The New York Times took after the natural gas industry, saying there wasn't enough of it to justify the possibility of using it for a surface fuel. I was so disgusted because already the glut was so evident that we would have to burn off more natural gas -- a natural byproduct of oil drilling -- that I contacted the ombudsman and got a critical word in about the coverage.
Then the objection was drinking water and "Gasland." Encana (ECA) had a couple of wells that environmentalists charged were leaking gas. The EPA was all over it but upon proper investigation found that there was no issue and no leak from Encana.
Then it was methane pollution and how drilling for natural gas caused more particulate damage than people thought, which meant it was no cleaner than oil. This came despite a dramatic decline in our own carbon footprint because of our aggressive switch to burning natural gas, not coal, as a power-plant fuel. A University of Texas study showed that the government was dramatically overstating the methane leakage and that it wasn't even a real issue.
It's all coming together to use natural gas as a surface fuel, except Congress wants to talk only about renewables and the importance of the government's getting behind them, not unlike the Spanish thrust to do so, which almost bankrupted that state. The U.K. went that way, too, and it cost them mightily.
I think that we are on some sort of ridiculous path that simply won't acknowledge the potential here for self-sufficiency. We are exporting 2 million barrels of gasoline a day because of rules that don't let us ship it to where it is needed unless the tankers fly under U.S. flags, which almost none do. That jacks up our gasoline prices in the Northeast, which I now believe is by design to use less fuel. The military seems not to care about the leverage our nation has over the Middle East if we didn't need its oil, which we wouldn't if we embraced natural gas as a surface fuel. We know the skies would be cleaner. We know pipelines punch above their weight when it comes to job creation.
But they only want to talk renewables. It is a religion, one that can't be touched. And it could destroy our nation's best opportunity to get strong and create more jobs instantly.
We have such a surfeit of natural gas right now that we have virtually stopped drilling. We are permitting export plants all over the place that won't be built. It is almost as if we are suicidal.
Mark my words: We are going to crucify our nation on a cross of renewables.
Jim Cramer is a co-founder of TheStreet and contributes daily market commentary to the financial news network's sites. Follow his trades for Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust.
More from TheStreet.com
This just in! A new study warns of long term debt! LMAO I should get paid to write these articles.
There have been some Major oil/ngas finds in recent times in the Americas or Western Hemisphere.
Oil and Tar Sands in Canada...
Monster Deposits off-shore Brazil and other un-tapped deposits in S. America.
New finds in the Gulf area adding to reserves..
Mexico with some unknowns, with little Activity(from outside), because of crime and Political strife.
Shale and other fields being opened in about 4 or more areas of the U.S.
Plus what we still have, in portions of Alaska un-tapped.
OPEC should be put on notice and I think they might be paying attention.?
Democrats are perpetual teenagers believing in all manner of fantasies like renewable energy which has never existed anywhere without the aid of taxpayer support to do what the market cannot - buy it.
America needs real energy - oil, natural gas, nuclear, coal. What we don't need is tree hugging dreamers and tax money hungry schemers getting in the way of economic growth.
Pipelines are being built....Everywhere.
Some are being replaced or upgraded...
Rail cars are hauling oil and fuel....At a much higher rate then just a few years ago...
Cheaper than trucking, and pipelines have not been completed.
The Keystone pipe, although a producer of jobs; May not add a lot of oil to our base, but could have some bearing on prices...Being held up mostly by States and Environmental Groups.
More refineries are needed, at least 2-3 maybe 4, then prices should start going lower.
And usage of Natural Gas, should be expanded and then add Green Energy to the mix.
And there are alternatives to making Coal burn "cleaner."
All the above will make us completely energy independent, and maybe a "net" seller.
our energy plan should consider all forms available as a salt and pepper approach. use oil, natural gas, NUCLEAR for the big output. use water, wind, solar for supplemental energy - mainly at the homeowner or small business level.
it's ludicrous to use big windmills for intermittent energy. it's silly to use miles wide land for solar to then be land used for nothing else.
jimmy - you pitch natural gas constantly. fine. i get it. but if natural gas had/has such value, WHY aren't the big oil companies installing more natural gas distribution centers? such as for use in cars? THEY have the money yet THEY don't see the value in investing in themselves? there's an answer in there for you.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Serious issues like drought and the deterioration of the developed world spell opportunity for this industry leader.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.
Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.
Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.