by Jonathan Decker
With the dust mostly settled from the midterm elections (minus ongoing attempts to steal votes in Florida), Democrats are celebrating their victory in reclaiming the House of Representatives, and Republicans are taking solace in the fact that Mitch McConnell’s judge-confirming-juggernaut factory just increased the size of its infantry. So while on the national stage it seems neither side can claim a decisive victory, rest assured, there was one conclusive loser on election night — the environmental fringe.
The drubbing liberal environmentalists received during the midterms was so significant that even the liberal news organization Vox conceded that Big Green couldn’t muster the power to further its agenda this cycle.
In Colorado, Democrats suffered a big fracking defeat at the ballot box when two (as Vox put it, “radical”) anti-oil and gas measures went up in smoke. This was a huge blow to groups like the Sierra Club which have orchestrated well-funded fear-mongering campaigns exaggerating concerns over methane emissions. While the Sierra Club and other environmental groups peddle alarmism, methane emissions have been falling at natural gas sites due to improvements in technology. Energy producers at New Mexico’s San Juan Basin have succeeded in reducing methane emissions by roughly 1.5 million metric tons since 2014, even as production increased. Innovation will continue to make American energy development cleaner as it is in producers’ financial interest to capture as much methane as possible.
Another significant defeat Big Green suffered came from an Arizona ballot initiative that sought to mandate that the state’s utilities obtain 50 percent of their energy from renewable resources by 2050. The Heritage Foundation released a study on the impact of Arizona’s proposal, which found:
States with high renewable portfolio standards have electric power rates that are about 27 percent per kilowatt hour more expensive than states with low ones, and about 50 percent higher than states without them.
[T]his “tax” could cost middle-income and lower-income American families about $1,000 more per year in utility prices. These mandates could also negatively affect business productivity and move jobs to areas with more energy choices.
Arizona voters saw this scheme for what it was — a regressive utility bill hike — and soundly defeated the proposal with nearly 70 percent voting against it.
Other big defeats for Big Green include voters in the state of Washington rejecting a carbon tax, voters in Alaska rejecting an attempt to reduce oil production in the state, and the rejection of a Montana initiative that would have dealt an enormous blow to the mining industry.
And to top it all off: Representative “Carbon Carlos” Curbelo (R-Fla.) reminded Republicans that carbon taxes are bad politics and bad policy when he failed to win re-election after introducing his infamous tax hike (which, by the way, did him no favors with the left).
So while American politics appears as gridlocked as ever after the elections, Americans this cycle managed to reach a large consensus on one thing: if the environmental fringe wants to lay off workers and increase utility bills, they are wasting their energy.
Photo credit: gracelinks via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0