Planet Gore

Kill Carbon, Fast-Track Wind

The Obama administration has blocked approval of the Keystone pipeline (bringing cheap crude to U.S. refineries) for three years, has choked development of cheap new Midwest coal facilities, and is frustrating efforts by natural gas companies to explore new supplies in places like Michigan’s upper peninsula.

But last week, the same administration announced it is speeding up federal approval of offshore wind farms in the Great Lakes, which have been delayed due to cost concerns and intense public concern that the giant turbines will disrupt tourism.

This is the administration that laments the loss of manufacturing in America? Great Lake wind farms are an extremely inefficient way to bring electricity to the power grid. Cheap energy is at the heart of industrial production, but Washington wants nothing to do with the plentiful carbon resources under our feet.

Despite Obama’s determination to fast-track wind, it takes two to tango — and the states he needs cooperation from on wind development aren’t playing along. “The technical and cost barriers to offshore wind are still very significant,” said Michigan governor Rick Snyder, who is not pushing Great Lakes wind. “We need the research efforts to bear more fruit before we redesign the regulatory framework we have in place. Our current system protects Michigan’s interests at this time.”

Those pesky Republicans are everywhere.

Henry Payne — Henry Payne is the auto critic for the Detroit News.

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