by Greg Walcher, E&E Legal Senior Policy Fellow
As appearing in the Daily Sentinel
It is fashionable for pundits to quote the old adage, “the cure is worse than the ailment,” referring to the imposition of martial law, under the guise of public health. Many Americans now think even coronavirus may hurt the country less profoundly than lockdowns, quarantines, mandatory business closures, decreeing who is essential and who is not, dictating the number of customers a business may serve, or unconstitutionally banning church services.
Policies that cause worse problems than they were meant to solve are not new, of course, nor unique to public health issues. I often ponder the unintended consequences of environmental policies, especially those involving renewable energy. Though prompted by an almost-universal desire to end pollution and improve the environment, sometimes the result is also higher electric bills, for example.
Many states have now passed renewable energy mandates, requiring a certain percentage of electric power to come from renewables, especially wind and solar. Some governors and legislatures, including Colorado’s, have set ambitious goals to completely banish fossil fuels within a few years. It is a popular position, as recent elections show, but we don’t always ask how it will be achieved.