By Denise Tessier
Yet another pro-nuclear/coal, anti-solar/wind piece by the executive director of Energy Makes America Great, Inc. appeared on Thursday’s Op-Ed page (July 28), entitled “Renewables Mean Higher Power Bills.” Noon’s article makes the usual assertions, including saying nuclear and coal are “the lowest-cost energy generating systems available.” This statement alone should throw the whole column into question, as it conveniently deletes from the equation the costs of nuclear waste disposal (which, under the Price-Anderson Act, falls to the taxpayers, while energy advocates like Noon oppose use of even a fraction of that cost in taxpayer money to encourage solar energy use. But I digress).
Why does the Journal continue using Noon on its Op-Ed (opposite editorial) page?
The answer can be found in the fact that the Journal paired Noon’s column with a pro-renewable energy piece written by Daniel E. Klein, who, according to the end paragraph of the column, is “president of Twenty-First Strategies” and a “longtime consultant on energy, energy security and climate change” who is apparently moving from Washington, D.C. to Santa Fe (which means we might be seeing more from this writer).
His column, “Make Shift to New Sources of Energy,” leads with this:
These are perilous times to rely on old and inefficient coal-fired power plants. Major changes are afoot, with big price tags to match. Should New Mexico continue throwing money at preserving the old ways, or do we proactively embrace the future?
By putting Noon’s anti-renewable energy piece side-by-side with one that advocates them, the Journal achieves a kind of “balance” on the subject (albeit one in which the reader is left to decide which advocate makes the best case).
So, the answer to why the Journal uses Noon’s columns is quite basic. They are useful. Noon’s columns are a tool for the extractive industry and a tool for the Journal as well.