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Reader Opinion: Fossil fuels a necessity

President Obama has announced his Clean Power Plan which calls for a major reduction in the burning of fossil fuels. Coal, natural gas, and oil are to be replaced by clean wind and solar projects. But it is the ongoing boom in energy supplies from U.

President Obama has announced his Clean Power Plan which calls for a major reduction in the burning of fossil fuels. Coal, natural gas, and oil are to be replaced by clean wind and solar projects. But it is the ongoing boom in energy supplies from U.S. oil and gas production that is largely responsible for our good economy and Obama's second term. The biggest contributor to the Obama economy has been the rise in domestic oil and gas production which Obama now wants to limit. Horizontal drilling and new reserves have doubled U.S. oil and gas production, creating many thousands of good paying jobs, and reducing energy imports. As Alex Epstein argues in "The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels," the environmental benefits of using fossil fuels far outweigh the risks. They don't take a naturally safe environment and make it dangerous; they take a naturally dangerous environment and make it safer. Human lifespans have doubled from the days of early Americans. Now mechanized farming feeds our growing numbers, and fossil fuel power purifies our water supplies.

Fossil fuels are the key to improving the quality of life for billions in the developing world. Without that energy, access to clean water plummets, and modern machines don't function. Calls to "get off fossil fuels" are calls to degrade the lives of a billion people who merely want the same life we enjoy in the West.

Imagine a calm night in Minnesota when wind and solar powered traffic lights, high rises, and hospitals go dark. Fortunately our gas and nuclear power plants on the Mississippi operate night and day, wind or calm, rain or shine. The energy poor good old days were not so good, when as Thoreau put it, "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."

Rolf Westgard

St. Paul

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