A Stimulus with Some Energy

An economic recovery plan that creates jobs, lowers gas and electricity prices, and won’t cost taxpayers $825 billion? Generally, when something is too good to be true, it usually is. And it’s probably the case here, but if I had a wish list of energy items to include in the stimulus package, it would look a lot like the Institute for Energy Research’s plan.

• Defend jobs and investments against expensive, job-killing climate regulations;
• Halt EPA’s attempt to use the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon dioxide;
• Renounce plans to bankrupt coal companies;
• Denounce spending billions of taxpayer dollars on subsidies on products that could potentially double power costs;
• Returning money spent on energy subsidies to taxpayers;
• Streamlining regulations to produce energy from American resources on American lands and coastal waters;
• Providing coastal states with 50 percent of revenue from offshore and onshore energy leasing;
• Supporting exploration and energy production in ANWR;
• Expediting construction of the Alaska natural gas pipeline;
• Allowing exploration and experimentation necessary to explore alternative energy sources, such as domestic oil shale and methane hydrates;
• Limiting frivolous lawsuits that thwart responsible energy development;
• Removing regulatory red-tape and repeal punitive laws that make it difficult to build and expand refineries;
• Removing regulatory barriers to allow construction of the next generation of nuclear power plants; and
• Resolving issues surrounding the Yucca Mountain Repository for spent nuclear fuel.

Private investment in nuclear energy will create jobs – lots of jobs. And lots of good jobs. The American Council on Global Nuclear Competitiveness has commissioned a study by Oxford Economics to examine the state-level occupational and economics of a revived nuclear endeavor in America. The study assumes 52 new reactors will be operational by 2030 and estimates the creation of 350,000 jobs.
Two things to keep in mind. First, these are high paying jobs we’re talking about here. To build and operate nuclear power plants, the industry will require high paying manufacturing jobs as well as a slew of chemical, mechanical and nuclear engineers. Secondly, a lot of these jobs aren’t going anywhere. Unlike a windmill that requires little or no man power after it’s built, nuclear plants will have an estimated 900 full-time jobs generated for each reactor. That’s 47,000 jobs by 2030 with reactors that could last up to 100 years.

The full report can be found here. The study also has an interactive website that breaks down employment, GDP, carbon emission savings, wages and tax revenue by state. You can check it out here.

Unfortunately, the energy sections in the stimulus plan currently proposed by Congress do not address these issues; in fact, they could make things worse.

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