Author: David Wogan

The Gulf Oil Spill: Reality Hits Home

Watching the Gulf oil spill unfold this past week has been surreal. Almost on cue, we have a coal mining disaster and catastrophic oil spill occur as we begin to ramp up climate and energy legislation talks. You can bet that these two disasters will shape the role of carbon-based fuels in this country moving forward. These don’t mean the end of coal and oil by any means, but there are sure to be more regulations and oversight as a result. Translation: Coal and domestic oil production will probably become more expensive. It might seem easy to point fingers and lay blame to oil companies and the “drill, baby, drill” crowd, but it’s not that simple. At the end of the day, it is you and I who are using the refined products from these deepwater oil wells. It’s easy to accost the Sarah Palin crowd, but unless you’re not driving in a vehicle powered by a petroleum product, eating food using fertilizers, using a product with polymers or wearing clothes, your hands are a little grimy, too. Maybe a silver lining emerges in the oily film in the water that is now the Louisiana Gulf Coast: As a nation we’re being confronted with the environmental challenges of energy production as they literally wash up on our shores. We’ve been insulated from these externalities as we rely on our...

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Texas Can Lead the World in Clean Energy and Policy – Come and Take It!

You’ve got to hand it to Rick Perry – this guy knows how to stay in the spotlight and keep his name in the papers. Gov. Perry has that unique ability to tap into the next big wave – that elusive undercurrent of public sentiment – that keeps him front and center in the public’s mind. “The Gov” is currently cashing in on the anti-Washington and anti-establishment wave. The cover of Newsweek says it all: “Don’t Mess With Texas.” Us Texans are a proud people. We have a rich heritage and history rooted in the frontier, survival during tough times and suspicion of government. But is this go-it-alone attitude really the best way forward for our state? What role should our state take in a quickly changing world? More specifically, how should Texas think about energy and climate change legislation? Is the governor right? Are overarching government policies and regulations going to strangle our state? I don’t think the answer is clear-cut. In some instances, I think Rick Perry can make a reasonable argument that a one-size-fits-all climate bill will be inefficient in some regards. There are many industry- and regionally-specific details that will need to be hammered out. For example, promoting electric vehicles as a way to reduce carbon emissions may be a great idea in Washington state where there is abundant hydroelectricity, but a poor policy in...

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