Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing

A recent story in Yahoo News about Heidi Heitkamp, a newly elected Democratic Senator from North Dakota, is worth pondering. The story quotes Heitkamp as follows:

“I think, you know the one thing that has gotten lost by everyone is one of the best ways that we can perform here is by getting people back to work, making sure that this economic recovery, slow as it is, gets amped up and moves forward,” Heitkamp tells Politics Confidential. “It’s one of the reasons why I’ve been such a big proponent of the Keystone Pipeline. There’s a shovel ready, private sector jobs program, good paying jobs.”


Heidi is disconcerted that President Obama seems to be concentrating on gun control and climate change and (she says) ignoring the economy. Good grief, how thick are some of the heads in Washington? Here’s a Democrat spelled with a capital “R,” talking about the necessity to pollute the earth some more in the name of profits while we ignore the health and well-being of our children and their children for generations to come.  But then she comes from North Dakota which is a very conservative state and where the bulk of the wealth (and it is very great deal indeed) comes from oil. Gee, do you think she’s pushing the Keystone Pipeline because of a debt she owes to Big Oil? I’m just askin’.

In any event, Heidi is dead wrong about climate change and I really do get tired of the conservative mantra that drones on and on about how a commitment to the environment and the pursuit of clean energy will invariably cost us jobs — and, by implication, if we want to help the economy recover and create more jobs we must go the route of fossil fuels.  It is a false dichotomy and yet we continue to hear it repeated as though it is beyond doubt. The facts belie the claim: we can have it both ways — clean energy and jobs. In fact we are already on our way.

Wind energy alone, as my blog buddy BTG recently pointed out, is currently employing 75,000 workers (more than the coal industry) and could employ 500,000 by 2030 if this Congress would get its collective head out of the sand (or wherever they have it at present) and commit the country to the pursuit of sustainable energy where we can be assured not only of more jobs, but also a cleaner environment, better health, and general economic recovery. Consider the fact that the solar industry also currently employs over 100,000 workers and could also take on more with a commitment from Washington. And we haven’t even begun to tap the potential energy from the ocean tides. Sustainable energy is the energy of the future in a world where we have become almost totally dependent on finite resources that pollute the air and raise the temperatures on the planet.

The old environment versus jobs argument simply won’t wash. It is a worn record and it flies in the face of every fact available to anyone who doesn’t happen to be in the pocket of the oil and gas industries. But that includes Senator Heitkamp, it would appear, who will continue to push for dirty energy while the rest of us wonder what it will take to wake up those closed-minded politicians in Washington who have lost sight of what really matters in this country — which is the health, well-being, and prosperity of ordinary citizens. What really matters is certainly not more obscene profits for Big Oil, though they play the tune and the politicians dance the dance.


12 thoughts on “Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing

  1. Well said Hugh. Thanks. I find it interesting that the fossil fuel industry does not want people to know the number of jobs and potential jobs in solar and wind energy. I have conservative friends who feel wind and solar are still untested technologies or fads. They also don’t want people to know climate change is real, here and man-influenced. On a totally different subject, but germaine, someone from the conservative leaning Cato Institute in a public setting said this about Obamacare yesterday – with all due respect to Sarah Palin, there is no such thing as death panels. If you read that, he is saying Palin lied to the American people. We can look back at what conservative politicians have said about climate change and say you lied to the American people. The problem some are still misleading people. BTG

    • Thanks for the comment, BTG. When you look at the amount of money the corporations are pumping into politics in order to buy a government it makes you wonder how effective the ordinary citizen can be any more. Money talks while the collective voice of the people, which seems to be getting fainter, is shouting into the wind.


      • I’d agree with you, and well, I do agree that there is too much money by corporations “buying” things. However, it didn’t work in the last election and those great citizens who waited in line to vote made the difference. so….that is what ordinary citizens can do. don’t lose heart!! though I know it’s hard at times….

      • I agree that the last election was a blow to the big pockets. But brace yourself: they will spend even more next time around. They don’t want to be embarrassed again! But it was encouraging: you are right about that.


  2. ‘Here’s a Democrat spelled with a capital “R,” ‘
    i loved this!

    you are so right about harnessing those ocean tidal forces — wow are they ever strong, and -unlike the wind in different areas – the waves NEVER stop! it would be great to see someone conquer those waves!

    have you seen the news stories about the central american coffee crops? a few weeks ago i read that climate change is the most-logical reason. maybe when a cup of coffee becomes too expensive for most budgets, people will wake up!

  3. Many people seem to think solar energy is a hobby. We have friends whose only electricity comes from solar (with a generator for backup) as they live off grid. They run their computers, TVs, table saws, lights, &c., from solar power, and have been doing so for about 10 years.

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