A Wall Street Journal editorial today reports on a new Sierra Club campaign to strangle a natural gas revolution that promises both energy security and an American industrial renaissance. The group’s plan is called “Beyond Natural Gas,” and the Journal quotes Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune saying, "We're going to be preventing new gas plants from being built wherever we can."
The Sierra Club and its allies have already filed lawsuits against every coal plant in the United States that tries to open or expand, litigated against the oil industry at nearly every turn and helped block nuclear power for decades. This has cost tens of thousands of jobs in Michigan alone and led to higher energy costs for families and job providers.
All this is sad, because true environmentalists would embrace the natural gas and hydraulic fracturing revolution that has dramatically increased supplies and lowered costs. Gas is much cleaner that other fossil fuel energy sources and safer, too. For example, coal mines kill workers at twice the rate of oil and natural gas extraction combined, and provides approximately the same amount of this country’s energy, around 20 percent. Gas drilling is also safer for the environment: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Director Lisa Jackson has stated that she is “not aware of any proven case where the ‘fracking’ process itself affected water.”
Economist Thomas Sowell once wrote, “There are no solutions; only trade-offs.” The Journal editorial notes that the environmental left ignores this economic fact, “The Sierra Club campaign underscores that the modern green agenda is about far more than clean air and water and protecting wildlife. The real goal is to ban all fossil fuels — regardless of economic cost. It's hard to imagine a campaign that poses a greater threat to the U.S. economy, energy security and American health.”