A group representing energy consumers launched a campaign Monday to counter what it calls an "anti-energy" environmental agenda that seeks to put the brakes on fossil fuel development in favor of moving to a 100-percent renewable energy economy.
The Consumer Energy Alliance, calling itself “the voice of the energy consumer,” kicked off its 12-state “Campaign for America’s Energy” on Monday by sending letters to both Republican and Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill and to the White House.
“The campaign across 12 key states aims to educate families, businesses, and state and local lawmakers about the benefits of energy production and delivery, without getting bogged down in contentious politics,” according to the group, which is made up of a diverse array of manufacturers like Caterpillar, agriculture, and energy industry groups, as well as environmental conservation groups.
But the campaign is really meant to provide a counter point to anti-fossil fuel groups like 350.org that helped spur the “Keep It In the Ground” movement during last year’s presidential election, according to David Holt, the president of the consumer alliance.
Activists aligned with the anti-fossil fuel movement sought to pressure both Democrats and Republicans to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, while spurring opposition against oil and natural gas projects like the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota and Keystone XL.
The Consumer Energy Alliance launched its campaign as the anti-fossil fuel groups are readying for a major new push to move the U.S. to 100-percent renewable energy.
But Holt does not see what the groups are proposing as a real solution. “Simply saying ‘no’ is not a solution, and ignores human ingenuity and the environmental progress that has been achieved during the U.S. energy revolution,” wrote Holt in the letter to Congress.
“As a nation, we must do all we can to meet our energy needs using every available mechanism, including traditional energy, renewable energy, and energy efficiency,” Holt said.
“In the weeks and months ahead, CEA looks forward to fostering an open and thoughtful public discourse about our nation’s energy issues and finding sensible solutions that will protect the future of all Americans.”
Meanwhile, groups like 350.org, and its founder Bill McKibben, continue to bolster their anti-fossil fuel message to encourage aggressive action on climate change. On Sunday, the group marked the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, which caused massive flooding in New York and the East Coast in 2012.
Green groups view the hurricane as a bellwether for the types of storms that will frequent the United States if actions aren’t taken to limit fossil fuel use to combat global warming.
But the Hurricane Sandy vigil is just the beginning of a host of new campaigns McKibben and his allies will be rolling out ahead of the COP23 United Nations conference on climate change in Bonn, Germany, on Nov. 11. This year's conference is meant to advance the Paris climate change deal, especially in the wake of President Trump's decision to exit from it.
On Nov. 5, 350.org and United Nations Development Programme will host the “Pathway to Paris,” where McKibben’s group will launch the “1,000 Cities” initiative, inviting "all cities of the world to transition off of fossil fuels and move to 100% renewable energy by 2040, in order to turn the Paris Agreement into reality,” according to the event’s website.
“1,000 Cities will work in partnership with 350.org’s new Fossil Free campaign, dedicated to stopping new fossil fuel projects and transitioning to 100% renewable energy for all as fast as possible,” according to the website.
Holt’s consumer alliance thinks 350.org’s approach is too narrow and will ultimately push up energy prices for working families, he told the Washington Examiner. He supports solar and wind energy, but not at the expense of oil and natural gas development and all other energy resources.
He said the anti-energy “Keep It In the Grounders” are harming working families and those struggling from economic hardship. Environmentalists like McKibben have only acted to create divides when it comes to energy policy, he said.
“For too long, energy has been treated as a partisan issue,” Holt wrote. “In reality, energy affects every man, woman and child in this country, regardless of political affiliation.”
“It seems in recent years that our national energy debate — particularly as anti-energy advocates become more vocal -- risks forgetting about the most important voice -- families,” read the letter to the White House.
“Families all across the United States -- particularly those on low and fixed incomes -- deserve sensible, all-of-the-above energy and environmental solutions that help maintain supplies and keep prices low,” the letter added.