Their view: Obama undermines domestic energy industry

New Mexico Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela submitted this opinion on the cost of green energy:

Were we sold a bill of goods on green energy? Not according to President Obama. If you believe the president, we are in the beginnings of a new age of clean, affordable energy, with millions of "green" jobs at our fingertips. It will be, according to the president, an age in which our foreign policy will no longer be dictated by our energy needs. That sounds nice, but is it true, and at what cost?

The president promised this "investment" would be worth it, easing the burden of hard-working Americans at the pump, "so that we're not here talking about high gas prices next summer, and the summer after that, and five summers after that." Yet, here we are, in the fourth straight summer of high gas prices.

Candidate Obama also promised to create five million new green jobs in a decade. How many green jobs have been created by the Department of Energy's $16 billion Loan Guarantee Program so far? According to the most rosy estimates — 4,000. That is .0008 percent of what he promised, and the president is three-and-a-half years into his first term. At $4 million a job, that's not exactly an auspicious beginning to the program.

Perhaps even worse, the president has sat idly by while the EPA has forced producers of affordable energy — such as coal — out of business, leaving thousands of middle-class Americans without means to put food on the table. Not only is President Obama failing to create many new green jobs, he's undermining the domestic energy industry as it currently stands.

No one denies that clean energy will play a vital role in our energy future, but that future will be when sustainable companies can create affordable products that will survive in the marketplace. That's the way the free market works—in energy or any other industry. And that's what President Obama fails to understand.

Here in New Mexico, the Martinez administration has improved the regulatory and business environment to help all energy producers from geothermal, wind and solar to the traditional energy sources such as oil and natural gas to compete and innovate without taxpayers footing the bill and without the government picking winners and losers.

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