|Politics as usual is toying with your energy future.|
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Are you in favor of creating jobs and U.S. energy independence, or would you like to slow global warming and protect the environment from harm? Think hard before you answer because you can't support both of these things at the same time in the battle between Transcanada's ( TRP) Keystone XL pipeline combatants. If it's the forces of green, the Keystone pipeline is a fight against the same old, same old fossil fuel-driven past of reckless environmental degradation in the name of profits. When it's the army of the oil and gas lobby, the country is literally burning jobs like dollar bills through its wrong-headed approach to energy, which will also keep us addicted to foreign oil. The problem is that it's politics as usual -- and politics trumping energy policy - no matter which side of the argument you are on, and today, it's all about President Obama deciding to reject the Keystone pipeline.
When it comes to energy policy, the U.S. is falling short of the mark. There doesn't seem to be a mark, in fact, it's all piecemeal decisions sating the appetite of the lobbyists. Politicians react -- whether it was the BP oil spill or Keystone or
Solyndra -- rather than preempting problems by offering better ideas -- any ideas really -- for future energy policy. Here's the real headline behind the Keystone mess: Politicians have made wedge issues of U.S. energy policy. Ultimately, the public is to blame if it continues to line up on one side or the other of the debate to support the wedges without questioning them and asking for more. As Real Money columnist and energy sector expert Dan Dicker remarked when I asked him to size up the day's news, "I'm not sure who is winning. Who's the most politically-contrived player in the contest being waged in Washington over Keystone XL?" Does this country still need fossil fuels for as far as anyone can see into the future? Could anyone really say no to that right now? Will there be some point in the future of the 21st century when every American drives one of the burgeoning lineup of electric cars ? I wouldn't bet against it. Will the U.S. someday have an electricity grid on which renewable energy is a significant component ? I wouldn't doubt that either; in some places it's already the case. The problem, though, is that when it comes to politics and the decisions being made today, it's as if the powers that be think that we can be easily convinced a hundred-year war for the future of energy supply in this country can be settled in a year, or a single headline, and to them it's all just a convenient election cycle issue .