Those of us who believe we need to increase alternative energy use and block offshore drilling at any cost are not “Anti-energy” or “Eco-Radical Activists” as editor Will Folks so loving referred to us. Quite the contrary – a massive majority of South Carolinians oppose offshore drilling, and I believe we need to increase alternative energy capabilities because of the massive growth the energy sector will have, as well as the benefit to the economy.
Those who continue to push this narrative that we must drill offshore are like lamplighters protesting street lights, or horse and buggy drivers warning that the Model-T and cars will never take off. They are clinging to old technology and ideas that don’t fit in with America’s energy needs in 2019, and certainly aren’t helpful as we look 10-20 years in the future.
Even if we ignore (which we shouldn’t) the fact that off-shore drilling rigs will inevitable cause a spill and ruin the $22 billion dollar tourism industry that employs hundreds of thousands of South Carolinians, it’s a flawed strategy. Oil is a finite resource – something that is indisputable. Even the Defense Department, which is hardly known for being full of “Eco-Radicals,” has been working on a plan for over a decade to stop their reliance on fossil fuels. This means adding solar capabilities to forward bases and adding batteries to Humvees and tanks, all of which mean there is less need to drive oil tankers into dangerous areas to refuel, thus decreasing the likelihood that our men and women in uniform are attacked or killed.
Data centers that power this very website and our mobile phone obsessed culture need tons of energy to keep up with demand. Electric vehicles which are becoming more and more common demand huge sums of energy. So the question becomes where do we get this energy to power cars, data centers and our everyday lives?
Will we empower individuals to put solar panels on their roofs and and decrease their reliance on power companies? To buy electric cars and decrease their reliance on oil and gas companies? Will we allow abandoned fields to become overgrown or will will fill them with rows of solar panels, creating jobs during the installation and a recurring revenue source for rural land owners who have seen declining wages for decades?
As we look forward and see our reliance on fossil fuels decline, this doesn’t mean a decrease in energy needs – in fact it likely means America will need more energy and with it the chance to create a multitude of new quality jobs. Solar and wind production means manufacturing jobs, engineering jobs and ongoing maintenance jobs – this is something we should be encouraging and embracing.
The alternative is to try and scare South Carolinians about the future. But like the lamplighter and the buggy driver, these scare tactics will eventually seem silly. The real question is will we invest in alternative energy now so that South Carolina can be a leader? Or will we invest in the technology of old that will be antiquated in a decade and has the potential to kill tourism, jobs, and our economy in the meantime?
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