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Tuesday, April 22, 2014
What's Actually Good for the Environment May Surprise You
By Heritage Foundation @ 12:32 AM :: 3992 Views :: Energy, Environment

What's Actually Good for the Environment May Surprise You

by Amy Payne, Heritage Foundation, April 22, 2014

Good news for Earth Day: We can boost energy production and economic growth without harming the environment!

Thanks to years of empty promises from the Left, politicians in Congress and the White House have installed all sorts of harmful policies that block energy production, jobs, and economic growth. But those policies have shown themselves to be counterproductive—they don’t deliver the benefits liberals promised, and they hurt Americans.

>>> Watch our Earth Day event dispelling environmental myths today at noon ET

Here are two examples that may surprise you.

1. An oil pipeline is environmentally safe.

The Keystone XL pipeline, which President Obama just delayed again, has received an environmental green light multiple times—from this administration.

State Department impact reports have concluded “that the pipeline, a Canada-based project to deliver up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day to Gulf Coast refineries, would pose no significant environmental risk and would not contribute substantially to carbon dioxide emissions,” says Nicolas Loris, Heritage’s Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow.

Loris also notes that the project “has bipartisan support, the backing of several unions, and approval from former energy and interior secretaries.”

The pipeline would bring jobs and would help provide additional oil supply. “With high economic benefits and minimal environmental impact, this project should be a no-brainer,” Loris says. But elections seem to be a problem for Keystone. After a promise to decide the pipeline’s fate by 2011, President Obama postponed the project through the 2012 election—and this latest delay pushes a decision past the midterms.

2. Biofuels are not better for the environment.

Here’s another case where central planners promised they knew what was best for us—and it’s not working out. In fact, it’s costing us.

A new study out this week concluded that biofuels aren’t the “clean” alternative to gasoline that advocates promised. In fact, producing biofuels can release more greenhouse gases than using gasoline.

It’s been known for years that biofuels aren’t as environmentally friendly as we were first told. Heritage’s Loris wrote last year that “After accounting for land-use conversion, the use of fertilizers, insecticides, and pesticides, as well as the fossil fuels used for production and distribution, biofuel production is quite carbon-intensive.”

Even if unintended, the consequences of mandating ethanol production and use in gasoline have been disastrous. Loris reports:

The mandate promised less dependence on foreign oil, lower fuel prices, and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Instead of delivering on these promises, the mandate delivered concentrated benefits to politically connected producers and higher costs to America’s energy consumers.

Whether it’s blocking helpful developments or mandating harmful ones, the government isn’t getting environmental policy right. That’s why The Heritage Foundation’s American Conservation Ethic includes the principle that the most successful environmental policies come from liberty.

Freedom unleashes the forces most needed to make our environment cleaner, healthier, and safer.

Read the Morning Bell and more en español every day at Heritage Libertad.

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