Here are my observations on the news of the day.
PROMISES, PROMISES – While campaigning in 2008, Barack Obama promised to create 5 million “green” jobs and invest $150 billion (yes, billion) over 10 years to promote green technologies. Remember Solyndra?
You may recall the conversations about the Bureau of Labor’s broad definition of what constitutes a “green” job. Stories circulated that it included a custodian working in a new electric power plant, and a bus driver who drives an electric bus.
The broad definition made it difficult to count exact numbers of “green” jobs, and the counting, which did not start until 2010, conveniently (for Obama) ended in 2013. However, as of March 2016, there were some 2.5 million jobs in clean energy.
BUT JOBS WERE LOST, TOO – With older power plants being retired in favor of power plants being fired by natural gas, as well as wind and solar farms, it has been estimated that direct utility employment has fallen to some 500,000 since 2006. “That is eroding a stable source of well-paying jobs, especially in rural areas,” Russell Gold reports in The Wall Street Journal.
“The power sector is just not going to contribute to the economy in terms of jobs the way it once did,” said Curt Morgan, president and chief executive of Vistra Energy Corp. He cited an example with a power plant and nearby mine employing 450 people shut down in Texas. Judge Dave Barkemeyer in Milam County, where the mine was located, estimates its closure will erode about 15 percent of the county’s tax base. Vistra will be opening a solar farm in west Texas this summer, employing just two people, who could be part-time.
Regular readers will recall that I objected to President Obama’s anti-coal stance and have applauded President Trump’s efforts to rejuvenate mining in West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky. While new coal-fired plants are unlikely, I was pleased to learn that U. S. coal exports grew 58 percent in the first half of 2017, and that significant expansions of coal export facilities have been built.
IF YOU MISSED seeing newly confirmed Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testify Tuesday morning before the Senate Judicial Committee, you missed seeing an extremely knowledgeable, well-spoken, truth-telling member of President Trump’s cabinet. Aside from her opening statement, Nielsen fully responded to all questions and comments without having to refer to notes. If you are not aware, Nielsen was the deputy to Jeh Johnson, the previous DHS secretary, who always presented an evasive mode.
PRESIDENT TRUMP’S physician Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson at Walter Reed Hospital gave an excellent detailed report of his physical health to members of the White House press corps on Tuesday and as you can imagine, questions regarding the president’s mental capacity and questions of Alzheimer’s disease crept into the Q&A. And, of course, CNN’s Jim Acosta asked if there was anything President Trump asked him not to divulge. The positive results of the president’s four-hour physical had to be a major disappointment to the media.