Americans see clearly how the left-wing push to defund and eliminate the police leads to a nationwide surge in violent crime that disproportionately affects minorities and the poor. The next big awakening, which Democrats could pay for, involves the left-wing assault on conventional energy.
Just as Americans see no benefit in more crime, they likely can't find the upside of soaring energy prices showing up in their utility bills and at the fuel pump.
Over the years, The Gazette's editorial board has advocated all-of-the-above energy policies that allow oil, natural gas, wind, solar, geothermal, and all other conceivable forms of energy to compete as options for consumers. We've defended oil production and confronted opposition to wind and solar projects. We want our country to have access to all the energy it needs without begging other countries or defeating them in war.
Multiple options of all goods, services, and commodities force innovations that improve quality and keep prices in check. This is commonsense that anyone understands and no economists dispute. One child can sell a single cup of lemonade for $1, right up until a neighboring child sets up nearby and offers multiple drinks for 75-cents. To survive, each seller needs to improve the outcome for customers.
In advocating all-of-the-above energy, The Gazette has warned how policies favoring some energy products and disfavoring others would hurt average consumers. Those harmed most are those with the least. Wealthy consumers may not flinch at an increase in the cost of household gas and electricity. Conversely, those who live paycheck-to-paycheck may be one rate hike away from an unpaid bill and a shutoff notice.
Politicians have assured us we are wrong. They have sat in our board room and said, with straight faces, the transition away from coal, crude, and natural gas would lower prices for consumers. The sun and wind have no billing office so maybe they had a point.
Problem is, we've seen nothing but routine price hikes since Democrats began imposing intense regulation of oil and gas production while discouraging and obstructing additional pipelines.
Xcel Energy, Colorado's largest utility, wants the Public Utilities Commission to approve an increase that will raise utility bills by an average of 12.83% next year. This will help pay for, as Xcel explains in writing, “Colorado’s clean energy policies."
This comes a month after Black Hills Energy requested a rate hike and four months after a rate hike by Colorado Springs Utilities.
"The exciting thing is that Xcel will tell you today that new wind energy costs 20% less than existing coal," said Gov. Jared Polis while running for office in 2018. "So the sooner we can recognize the benefits of the green energy economy, the greater the savings will be for Colorado ratepayers."
As governor in 2018, now-Sen. John Hickenlooper promised dividends from clean energy carbon taxes would return to ratepayers "more than offsetting any potential increase in energy costs."
That did not happen.
"Coal is no longer the low-cost fuel," Hickenlooper declared.
Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, assured us in 2018 that renewable energy "is the cheapest power available in more and more places..."
That's strange because lower-cost energy should not show up in the form of routine rate increases imposed to pay for "low-cost" energy. Scrapping our country's nearly endless supply of coal, along with power plants long ago paid for, means building new assets we won't pay off during any mature adult's lifetime.
Then there's the gas pump. On his first day in office, President Joe Biden ended progress on the Keystone XL pipeline and sent a powerful message to Russia, China, and the rest of the world. They loved it. Without directly stating as much, Biden made clear the United States will no longer pursue energy independence. Coal workers should "learn to code."
Polis signed into law a bill that turned the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission into a veritable environmental protection agency so hostile to energy production our oil-rich state has run off investment in exploration and wells.
As gasoline prices advance toward $4-a-gallon throughout much of the country, the trend has the identical effect of new taxes on the middle class and poor. Even worse, we've reverted from a nation of increasing energy independence to one in which Biden must beg OPEC to lower prices so he doesn't face the wrath of consumers at home. We are again dependent on countries that abuse civil rights, enslave minorities, and torment the LGBTQ community. We need them as our friends, no matter what they do to people because we need their oil.
Of course, none of this stops with gasoline prices and utility bills avoided by those who ride bicycles and power their homes with the sun. Soaring energy prices show up in the cost of all food, clothing, and shelter because all include the overhead of energy used in their manufacture and distribution.
Democrats control the White House, both chambers of Congress, 100% of Colorado state government, and both Colorado Senate seats. So far, this single-party reign has come with more crime, less energy at higher costs, and consumer price inflation. For the poorest among us, these are miserable times.