August 27, 2016

Conservation is Conservative

Why Republican Leadership Matters

This morning, we received a bulk email from a major green group crowing about “killing a proposed coal plant” in Michigan. Yes, ConservAmerica believes there are better options for consumers, industry, and the environment than coal. Our “Cleaner, Here, Now” energy policy is a pragmatic look at moving beyond coal.

The small town newspaper reported that Wolverine Power Cooperative announced it had given up on the proposal which would have created 2,000 construction jobs, 100 permanent new jobs, and a huge shot-in-the-arm for the local tax base in a very rural community. The statement that really stuck in our craw, though, was the fact that the co-op spent more than $25 million trying to navigate an ever-changing permitting process.

The green group is proud of that waste–$25 million of ratepayers’ money. Money that could or should have been invested productively. Death-by-extremely-expensive-delay is the mode of choice for many environmental groups today, and is being replicated across America. The total dollars expended on eventual dead-ends is staggering.

This is why Republican leadership matters. Companies need certainty in the regulatory arena in order to make prudent decisions with capital. With market-oriented policies to tackle environmental problems and common sense regulatory reforms in place, we can spur our economy, and create the prosperity we need to give Americans the confidence to tackle even bigger problems.

$25 million. Just imagine if that had been invested in energy efficiency projects within Wolverine’s footprint, or been used to add to Wolverine’s wind energy park. It could have replaced every light bulb in all 265,000 homes serviced by Wolverine with high efficiency bulbs! Instead, ratepayers will have to make it up, and they’ll not discriminate between conservation groups hoping to do them favors in the future.

The economic term for this is opportunity cost.

Wasting resources, whether it’s forests, lakes, air, or money, is not conservative. Never.

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