FEE's Take on Energy
MAY 15, 2012 by SHELDON RICHMAN
On dedicating the Enbridge Silver State North solar project in Nevada, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said:
This is a landmark day for solar energy and for the nation. Silver State North was the first solar project we approved on public lands in Nevada and—18 months later—the first of our priority projects to provide clean energy to the power grid. This is a model of industry and government working together to strengthen local economies, generating good jobs and affordable, reliable and sustainable power.
Secretary Salazar shows a flagrant disregard for constitutionally limited government and free markets. There are no good grounds in economic theory or morality for government to operate energy facilities either on its own or in cooperation with industry. Bureaucrats do not face the market’s profit-and-loss test and therefore have no way of knowing if they are wisely using or squandering scarce resources and labor. Although such government projects are heralded as in the general interest, they inevitably turn out to be subsidies to favored business firms at the expense of competitors and the taxpayers. Government has its hands full maintaining domestic tranquility. It should stay out energy production.