U.S. should demonstrate its greatness when it comes to energy

An editorial from The Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — The United States of America has a long history of greatness.

It’s time, somehow, to demonstrate it again when it comes to the issue of energy.

Have you seen a sound, consistent energy policy in the country over the past four decades, since the Arab oil embargo led to those long gas lines and exploding prices in the early 1970s?

Focus continually changes, depending on economic factors and who holds political power.

The U.S. Clean Power Plan was in the news last week.

Federal Environmental Protection Agency head Gina McCarthy spoke about the plan Thursday at the Resources for the Future Policy Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C.

The goal is to cut pollution from existing fossil fuel plants 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels.

Dealing with carbon dioxide and pollutants in the atmosphere is a worthy goal with the effects on health and carbon dioxide’s part in potential climate change.

However, we hope that some realism enters the debate.

Abundant, affordable energy is critical to a vibrant economy, and fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and oil are not simply going to vanish in the forseeable future.

Coal, for example, still is used to generate roughly 40 percent of the nation’s electricity.

Should the United States focus on renewables such as solar and wind? No question. But they’re not enough — not nearly enough — to power the United States…

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