April 25, 2018
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Pipeline pipe dreams

By Alan W. Boone, Special to the BDN

Being of a practical mind, I have little sympathy for two recent contributions to the BDN, one a letter from Fran Ludwig of Damariscotta (Aug. 23), and the other an OpEd, “Taking a stand against the Keystone XL pipeline,” (Aug. 24) by Jean Matlack of Rockport.

Both writers planned to join a sit-in (“civil disobedience”) at the White House to protest against our federal government allowing a pipeline entry into this country, carrying oil from Alberta tar sands to a refinery in Texas. Ludwig writes “Enough! We need to take a stand against fossil fuel now!”

I wonder how they’re planning to get to Washington, DC. Perhaps they’re going by horse and buggy? Or if they’re taking their Chevy Volts, do they realize how much of our electricity is created by burning coal, our most abundant fossil fuel? Or perhaps they’re taking cues from Al Gore and his friends, with their multiple mansions and uninhibited jet travel: What they prescribe for you should not apply to them, for their cause is so noble.

Perhaps they’ve not talked with an Albertan lately (who’s in a friendly country just next door). If the pipeline isn’t allowed entry into Montana, they have a fallback plan to send the oil to the British Columbia coast, where it can be loaded onto a ship, destination China.

That Albertan oil isn’t going to stay in the ground. It’s too valuable. No practical substitute for transportation purposes, in all probability, will be available for many years. We see here how great nations commit suicide.

The belief, surely based largely on what they see and read in our media, is that the world is headed to a hot-house hell due to man-made global warming, CO2 being the culprit. But there is consternation lately in liberal-land: the world, after warming from about 1980 to 2000 synchronous with rising CO2 levels, hasn’t warmed since. We learn that the earth’s temperature has been as warm or warmer in recent geologic history when CO2 levels were lower.

In short, it’s not as simple a correlation as the public has been led to believe.

You may have heard of Al Gore’s meltdown recently, an obscenity-laden diatribe against those wicked “climate deniers” of whom there are many more every year. Scores of well-qualified climate scientists, meteorologists and physicists are speaking out against falsified data and other shady dealings of the “warmist” persuasion (see “Climategate” and numerous other “gates”).

Huge sums, billions, are at stake in governmental grants, all for advancing a dubious theory which has never been substantiated, that we miserable human beings are responsible for the warming of the 1980s and ’90s that, in all likelihood, was just part of normal, cyclic climate change.

And, oh yes, an all-powerful federal government will be needed to issue innumerable regulations to make sure we cut back on our use of “fossil fuels.” Any threat to our livelihoods should not matter.

What will happen if these eco-extremists and their like-minded friends get their way?

Expect the price of gasoline in very short order to rise to $10 per gallon, as it is now in much of Europe. Food prices will rise further. Everything becomes more expensive, and if we think unemployment is bad now, just wait.

Most of these protesters probably mean well but it’s hard to imagine any energy policy more destructive to our economy. James LaBrecque and Joshua Hayward in “Finding the economic viability of alternative energy” (BDN OpEd, Aug. 25) illustrate nicely how misguided our state’s energy policy can be when it’s based on ignorance of the fundamentals, such as the payback time for tax-supported subsidies rarely making economic sense.

Well, let us wish Fran Ludwig and Jean Matlack a rousing good time in the nation’s capital. Let’s hope their food is cooked only by alternative energy, and that they use or wear nothing made from petroleum-derived plastic, lest they appear hypocritical, and after all the feel-good festivities have concluded everybody walks home.

Alan W. Boone is a retired physician who lives in Bangor.

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