Heartland Consumer Power District proudly announces that its pro-oil and pro-coal general manager Mike McDowell and paid lobbyist/state senator Russell Olson will participate in the Plain Green Conference in Sioux Falls on Friday. McDowell and Olson will contribute to a panel discussion of renewable energy.
If that doesn't fill your recommended daily allowance of irony, consider this: keynoting the Plain Green Conference is James Howard Kunstler, who, if given the opportunity, will blast McDowell and Olson's fossil-fuel flackery to bits. Here are a few gems on energy from Kunstler:
The two major parties both proclaim that the USA is verging on "energy independence." Both parties are lying. Reality knows that the shale oil "game changer" is a mirage. By 2014, the "sweet spots" of the Bakken will deplete faster than new wells can be drilled, and the impairments of banking will constrict the supply of capital investment for that hypothetical future drilling. All the deregulation in the world will not alter the fact that future oil is expensive, exists in places where it is hard to work, and entails unappetizing geopolitical contingencies. Reality favors letting go of automobile-based living and the adoption of walkable communities connected by inland waterways and railroads [James Howard Kunstler, "Join Up," Clusterf*** Nation, September 6, 2012].
On the signs that we are entering the "long emergency" of ever more expensive oil:
We're already seeing them. The two clearest signs are serious geopolitical friction and the volatility in the oil markets. A third one, which hasn't quite gotten traction, will be disruptions in the financial markets. But that could happen at any moment [Kunstler, interview with Katharine Mieszkowski, "After the Oil Is Gone," Salon, May 14, 2005].
On the false promises offered by industry boosters like McDowell and Olson:
There is a stupendous volume of propaganda, and wishful thinking, that we can replace cheap oil from the Middle East with unconventional oil and unconventional gas &ndash namely shale gas and shale oil. I think the whole game really founders on money issues and capital issues, and this is very poorly understood by the public &ndash including by people who ought to know better, like the mainstream media. We've been seeing headlines lately suggesting that America will soon be energy independent. Or that somehow America has magically become a net oil exporter. This is nonsense. The bottom line is, once you are trying to replace a shortage of easy-to-get conventional oil with unconventional, expensive oil, you're stuck in a trap. There is a paradox there: you really need a cheap oil economy to support an expensive oil economy. Without that underlying cheap oil economy, we're probably not going to get much of that expensive oil that's in difficult to get places, or that requires some extreme and complex production method for getting it out of the ground [Kunstler, interview with Jeff Goodell, "James Howard Kunstler on Why Technology Won't Save Us," Rolling Stone, July 12, 2012].
I hope Plain Green can record and post Kunstler's keynote address on Friday. And I dearly hope that video will include audience shots showing McDowell and Olson alternatively squirming and poo-pooing.