Bob McDonnell: Four Years of Failure (Part 1 - Energy)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

As Gov. McDonnell's term winds to a close, I can just hear it now from the corporate media, how McDonnell was actually a pretty good governor, other than Star Scientific, Jonnie Williams, Chefgate, etc. Except that, as is usually the case with the corporate media, that narrative will be dead wrong. In fact, on issue after issue, McDonnell was demonstrably a failure. This will be a continuing series, celebrating the end of McDonnell's 4-year reign of error. Today, we start with energy policy. First, let's look at the "comprehensive energy plan" Bob McDonnell outlined back in 2009 and see whether or not he fulfilled them.1. "Explore and Drill for Oil and Natural Gas off Virginia's Coast"
This is a really, really bad idea, for a bunch of reasons (e.g., as Chap Petersen explained back in February 2010, "the concept of Virginia receiving royalties from off-shore drilling is a fraud wrapped in a chimera concealed within a pyramid scheme." But even putting aside the idiocy of McDonnell's "drill baby drill" plan, the fact is that McDonnell got pretty much nowhere on it. As Rep. Scott Rigell (R) noted recently, "under the most optimistic scenario, no rig would be installed in Virginia waters for at least 10 years." Not only does that take us past Bob McDonnell's governorship, but also past Terry McAuliffe's and the successor to Terry McAuliffe. In other words, not even close for Bob McDonnell.
2. "Support Virginia's Coal and Nuclear Industries"
Corporate welfare certainly continued for Virginia's coal and nuclear power industries. As this article explains, "the coal industry in Virginia got $37 million in subsidies in 2009," "the net cost to Virginia that year was $22 million," yet "subsidies not only failed to increase jobs or coal production, but both actually declined at similar or faster rates than were predicted without the tax breaks." What a waste. As for nuclear power, the Union of Concerned Scientists states point blank that nuclear power is "not viable without subsidies." Even worse:
...subsidies to the nuclear fuel cycle have often exceeded the value of the power produced. This means that buying power on the open
market and giving it away for free would have been less costly than subsidizing the construction and
operation of nuclear power plants.
Dumb, dumber, dumberest. Instead, we should be focusing our resources on the most cost-effective energy solutions, starting with energy efficiency (by far the biggest "bang" for the energy investment "buck") and distributed solar power (where Virginia has completely failed in every way - but more on that later). Of course, McDonnell didn't do any of that. #FAIL