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“Pipe Dreams” vs. Pipeline Reality — Diana Furchtgott-Roth

“Pipe Dreams” vs. Pipeline Reality — Diana Furchtgott-Roth

Real Talk: The Charles Mizrahi Show podcast

“Pipe Dreams” vs. Pipeline Reality — Diana Furchtgott-Roth

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Oil and Gas pipelines have become a hot topic in today’s energy debates. New projects like the Keystone pipeline could help rein in rising oil and gas prices. But they’re meeting unprecedented resistance from politicians, environmentalists — and even bankers. Today I’m joined by Diana Furchtgott-Roth, who’s going to shed some light on the difference between green energy “pipe dreams” and real-world pipeline facts. 

Topics Discussed:

  • An Introduction to Diana Furchtgott-Roth (00:00:48) 
  • Transporting oil: Truck, Train, Tanker or Pipeline? (00:04:35) 
  • The Economic Reality of Climate Change (00:11:30) 
  • Giving Away America’s Energy Independence (00:23:10) 
  • The Government’s Green Energy Blunder (00:31:40) 

Guest Bio:

Diana Furchtgott-Roth is an economist and adjunct professor of economics at George Washington University. She served as the chief economist of the United States Department of Labor, and she was nominated by President Donald Trump to serve as Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Research and Technology. She’s also a columnist for and author of Disinherited: How Washington Is Betraying America’s Young.  

Resources Mentioned:

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Read Transcript

Charles Mizrahi: My guest today is Diana Furchtgott-Roth

Diana served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology at the U.S. Department of Transportation.

She’s also served in The White House under U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush.

One of the very first things President Joe Biden did on his very first day in office was to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline. That wasn’t an accident. The Democrats and their environmentalist allies hate the pipeline.

I recently sat down with Diana and she shared with me how this doesn’t make sense.

Pipelines create thousands of construction jobs and move large amounts of needed oil and gas from Canada to refineries in the US.

And how pipelines are the most efficient, most environmentally-friendly, and safest transportation method possible.

Diana, thanks so much for coming on the show. I greatly appreciate it. I was looking forward to it since we spoke last week about pipelines. There was so much I don’t know about them and I’m so glad I got an expert and someone who knows a lot about them.

Diana Furchtgott-Roth: It’s great to be with you, Charles. Thank you so much for having me on your show. Pipelines are so important in energy development.

Charles: What interests me most was the first or one of the first things that President Biden did on his first day in office. I think it was an executive order, if I’m not mistaken.

Diana: Yes.

Charles: He canceled the Keystone XL pipeline. First of all, I want you to explain it to me like I’m a five-year-old. What is a pipeline? Why is it so important? Then I want you to share with me why he canceled it.

Diana: Pipelines are so important because they bring oil and natural gas from where they’re produced to where they are needed to be used. So we have vast reserves of oil and natural gas in the Permian Basin in Texas, but we don’t all live in Texas. We have vast reserves in the Bakken in North Dakota, but we don’t all live in North Dakota. And we have vast resources in Pennsylvania, but we don’t all live in Pennsylvania.

So the object of pipelines is to bring the oil and natural gas from where they are produced to where we need to use them. It’s just really interesting, Charles, when pipelines are prohibited. For example, they are prohibited from going through parts of New York state. Then you can’t get the oil and natural gas from the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania to people in New England who need it.

So you find that their costs of heating are much higher. Until the Russian-Ukrainian war, New England was actually fueled by Russian tankers along the ports on the East Coast in New England because we didn’t have the pipelines to get our production up there.

It’s become even more important because of what’s going on in Russia stopping the natural gas flows to Europe. Now they want to buy our natural gas. They want to buy our oil. It used to be that pipelines flowed inward. In other words, we would have tankers in the East and West coast and then the pipelines would bring oil and natural gas inward because we were importing it.

Now we’re exporting it. So the flows of these pipelines have got reversed. Now they come from the inside of the country to the outside of the country. We have become a net oil and natural gas exporter.

Charles: How many miles of pipeline are there in the United States?

Diana: Oh I don’t have that number right offhand, but there’s basically millions of miles of pipelines. There’s not just the pipelines that go from the oil and natural gas fields, there’s also miles of what’s called distribution pipeline. In other words, the natural gas pipelines that get gas to your house to power your gas stove. If they are going to let you keep your gas stove.

There are millions of miles of pipelines in the United States. That’s the safest way of carrying oil and natural gas because the pipeline stays still and the product moves through the pipeline. Unlike with a truck or train where the container moves and the product stays inside it.

Now, I have to say trains and trucks for carrying oil and natural gas are also safe, but the very safest is pipelines.

Charles: For example, I am in New York City. You said New York State doesn’t have pipelines. Pipelines are not allowed to go through New York?

Diana: It’s really, really fascinating, Charles, that the Marcellus Shale is on both sides of the Pennsylvania, New York border. It’s south into Pennsylvania from that New York border and north into New York state. But New York state not only has prohibited pipelines, it’s also prohibited fracking, even though residents of upper New York state would like the fracking because they want the income.

You can see that development in Pennsylvania and economic growth is much higher than the development in New York state because New Yorkers are not allowed to use their share of the Marcellus Shale. So, yes, it’s not just pipelines that are limited in New York state, it’s also the production of all the oil and natural gas that you have in the Marcellus.

Charles: Wow. Without these pipelines coming into New York, you’re telling me my gas and oil is being transported by truck or train?

Diana: Truck or train. Or, before, it used to be transported by tanker from places such as Russia. These tankers would dock in the harbors and they would provide the oil for heating systems in the Northeast.

Charles: Without knowing much, it just seems to be much more price efficient to have pipelines rather than trucks or trains. Am I off on that?

Diana: Oh no, it’s much, much more efficient, but there are these people who are against pipelines. They are against developing the share of the Marcellus Shale that’s in New York state. They would rather people had higher heating and electricity bills, rather than allowing those pipelines to be built, even though the residents of New York – especially upstate residents – would like those pipelines and they would like the economic development that comes with those pipelines.

Charles: Just talk about the CO2 emissions. Pipelines seem to be much lower than trucks or trains transporting this. I just don’t get it.

Diana: Yes. That’s right. It would have lower CO2 emissions. But there are people who are focused on what they call the transition to net zero 2050. So they think we are involved in a transition to zero fossil fuels and that building pipelines and building an infrastructure that allows us to be energy independent is going to interfere with this transition to net zero.

Well, you know, Charles, I go around campuses, I go around the country. I give a talk called Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and Net Zero 2050 because they are all the same. There’s no way we are going to have zero carbon emissions in 2050.

Even if, let’s just imagine, all the United States was covered with wind turbines and solar panels and we could produce all our electricity and power our cars and our homes through these solar panels and wind turbines, we’d still need fossil fuels to build the wind turbines.

You cannot build something that’s so steel intensive, large and heavy without a dense source of energy. The only way we’re going to have emissions-free energy is if we go nuclear, if we have more nuclear power plants. Oddly enough, the same people who are against pipelines, the same people who are in favor of what they call net zero 2050, are also against nuclear power, which has carbon-free dense energy.

It’s very safe. 70% of electricity in France is run through nuclear power. We have multiple nuclear submarines, none of which has had a major accident.

Charles: I forget where I was reading it, but there are more deaths attributed to people installing solar panels than there have been in all the nuclear accidents in the United States.

Diana: Exactly. Yes. But in the absence of a vibrant nuclear power industry, we are going to continue to rely on oil and natural gas. One wonderful thing about the United States is that we have so much of it. We have so much of it that in North Dakota we are actually flaring it.

It’s like turning on your gas burner and not heating anything because we don’t have the pipelines in order to be able to get it out to the coast to export. But this is becoming more and more important. Not just for Americans who want low heating bills and low electricity bills, but also for our allies in Europe that have been dependent on Russia.

They want an alternative source to free themselves from Russia because Russia cut off their natural gas and oil supplies, Charles. They would like to purchase oil and natural gas from us. Thank goodness we have plenty of it, but the downside is that President Biden has an alphabet soup of agencies that are all standing in the way of more pipelines.

There’s the SEC. There’s FERC. There’s OCC. There’s the Federal Reserve. There’s EPA. So the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), which is supposed to regulate risk for companies, now has a climate officer. They are looking at whether companies are incurring more risks from fossil fuels or carbonization or climate change.

So looking at the risk from climate change, that means a company that is producing oil and natural gas or producing pipelines, they immediately get downgraded because it’s thought they have a risk. They have climate risk.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has a climate risk officer called Yue Chen. She came originally from China. She has her degree from Tsinghua University. She is responsible for seeing that banks don’t have too much climate risk. What does that mean?

Banks shouldn’t lend for fossil fuel projects because that might incur a climate risk. So all this means that companies that want to have fossil fuel pipelines, they face what’s called a higher cost of capital. It costs them more to borrow because different organizations, different parts of the U.S. government, are trying to make it more difficult for them to borrow money by saying their operations contribute to climate change.

Do you see what I’m saying, Charles?

Charles: Yes. I want to go back to something you said earlier. Because they want to go net zero by 2050 and therefore do not want to build infrastructure, do not want to put more pipelines, it seems kind of punitive that you’re being punished because we don’t want you to go that path, even though we could solve the problem today.

But if we build it then we’re more entrenched. Is that the way I’m reading this?

Diana: That’s the view, yes. If we build it then we’re more entrenched. We’re more entrenched and dependent on fossil fuels. But we’re never going to be independent of fossil fuels. As far as the eye can see we’re going to need natural gas. One reason the United States has decreased its carbon emissions by about a thousand million metric tons over the past 15 years is because we’ve been using more natural gas. It’s very clean.

Whereas China on the other hand has increased its emissions by about 5,000 million metric tons because it’s building coal-fired power plants – more and more of these coal-fired power plants. That’s how it’s running its economy. That’s how it’s building the wind turbines and the solar panels that they are sending to us.

You can tell me, how does this decrease global emissions? If we’re interested in climate change we need to look at global emissions. Taking our energy production and offshoring it to China not only makes China stronger, but there’s more carbon emissions. These carbon emissions could potentially have an effect on climate change.

Moving them from the United States to China is not helpful in the goal of environmentalists of reducing carbon emissions.

Charles: Diana, you make all the sense in the world. I’m thinking a pipeline, running gas and oil through a tube, is a lot cheaper. It doesn’t move. It’s economical. It seems to be environmentally friendly. You’ll show me how in a minute if it is or isn’t.

Then, riding on the possibility of having a train derailment or traffic or an accident with a truck or tanker – all these things. What does the other side say because this seems to be a no brainer? What am I missing?

Diana: The other side says we’re always going to have rail and truck, but an investment in pipelines basically means that you want to have a return over many years or many decades and that’s going to lock us into fossil fuels. If we’re transitioning away from fossil fuels, then we don’t want to be locked into these fossil fuels.

That’s what the other side says. Then people like me say we are going to be dependent on these fossil fuels as far as the eye can see. Plus, we don’t want to be dependent on China for our wind and solar. We want to be energy independent. Energy independent means using our supplies of oil and natural gas.

So these are the two different sides.

Charles: But Diana, didn’t the president say at the State of the Union when he went off script, he said we’re going to need fossil fuel for at least the next decade.

Diana: I know, but it’s more than the next decade we’re going to need it. If you talk to people in Japan they are going to say we need it until 2060 or 2070.

Charles: OK, but how does that jive with the rest of the argument of being net zero by 2050 or even earlier than that just transitioning away from fossil fuel? The president came out and said against all his policymakers, his party, and all the green energy people that this is just aspirational. It’s not really going to happen.

He said we will need fossil fuel. So why aren’t we building the most efficient means of transportation now to solve a problem now and over the next three to six years? It seems like we’re being punished. It’s like you’re a naughty boy, you can’t use it. We’re not going to let you use it even though we know it’s good. We can’t because we don’t want you to become dependent on it.

Is that the logic of this?

Diana: That’s basically their logic. It’s not logical though. We have the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) doing its best to slow down pipeline approvals. We have the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doing its best to slow down permitting for pipeline approvals.

So we’re in a very difficult situation. These companies want to build pipelines. It’s not just the pipeline companies. It’s the oil and natural gas producers. Because if you produce it but you can’t get it to where it’s supposed to go, then its value is a lot lower.

That’s why the price of oil per barrel is lower in North Dakota than it is in Texas. That difference is because the people in North Dakota have a hard time getting it out to the coasts where people want to buy.

Charles: So if you and I had an oil rig and we produced oil and natural gas, there are only three ways we can move the stuff. We can either move it by pipeline, rail or road. You’re telling me they want to move it by rail and road. Let’s put that aside for a second.

Tell me, is there an environmental risk? Are pipelines more of an environmental risk of an accident happening than rail or road?

Diana: There have been leaks in pipelines. But pipeline technology, as with other technology, is getting better all the time. There are now sensors on pipelines so you can see if there’s a change in the pressure. Besides, oil is a natural substance. If there is a small amount of leakage from a pipeline it can be cleaned up.

But the environmental risk is in a leak. There aren’t very many leaks. You don’t find people dying because of our pipeline accidents in general, the ones that transport oil and natural gas. The accidents tend to be in the distribution systems that go from the main pipeline to people’s homes.

In general, the pipelines that transfer oil and natural gas from the oil and gas fields to where people live are extremely safe. There’s a Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration in the Transportation Department where I used to work. They are doing fascinating research as to how to see if there is a change in the pressure.

They have ultrasound machines that go over the pipelines and can see if there’s a small crack or pinprick in them. So these are extremely safe. We don’t have the case, as in Lac-Mégantic in Quebec about 10 or 15 years ago, where there was a train that didn’t have its brakes on properly.

It rolled backwards into the town in Quebec, caused a fire and killed 47 people. We don’t have accidents like that with pipelines.

Charles: Wow. How about the environment? Is this environmentally better?

Diana: I would say it’s environmentally better because you don’t have to have electricity, carbon emissions, to make the trucks or the trains go. So I mean I would say there is a marginal benefit in the pipelines. Plus, they are more efficient. You can carry very large volumes at one time. I think that’s the main argument.

Charles: The way this works, the way a pipeline works, is that oil or natural gas flows through it. The pipeline company charges per volume of some sort, right?

Diana: Right.

Charles: That goes through and it goes in one tube and out into another tube. How long does it usually take from the two furthest points to get this gas or oil from point A to point B? Let’s use the furthest two points you can think of in this country.

Diana: I don’t have that exact data on this, but there are people. Also, the constraint isn’t on the time it takes, but it’s on the availability of liquid natural gas terminals to export the liquid natural gas to Europe where it’s needed. There are applications for these terminals that haven’t been filled.

Once the pipeline is in place it’s a relatively rapid way of transporting the oil and natural gas. We just need more of these pipelines and there’s a constant flow.

Charles: Is it quicker to have it by train, truck or pipeline? Let’s take two points pretty far apart. Which would be the fastest way to get it there?

Diana: First is to do it by pipeline.

Charles: So far pipeline is winning three to nothing. You tell me environmentally. You told me in terms of spills, leakage. You also told me now in terms of price and efficiency. What other advantages are there to pipelines over trains and trucks?

Diana: The biggest advantage is that they are underground. They can’t connect with other trucks and other trains. They don’t go through towns in general. They are basically buried. They are invisible to most people.

Charles: Tell me again why people do not want these and would rather have trucks and trains transport this material throughout the country, causing more CO2, higher possibility of accidents, traffic, environmental hazards, you name it.

Diana: What they say is that by putting in place a permanent infrastructure that can only be used for natural gas and oil, that’s committing us to the use of our fossil fuels. Whereas a truck, if it’s not used to transport oil and natural gas, that can be used for something else.

A train if it doesn’t have oil and natural gas can be used to transport something else. So the transition to net zero is easier with trucks and trains because they are used for other things. Whereas pipelines are just used for oil and natural gas. That’s people’s argument for not building them.

What they want to do is they want to imagine that in 2050 we are not going to be using any fossil fuels. But that is just a myth. My former colleagues, Mark Mills at the Manhattan Institute, Robert Bryce, have all written extensively about how physically it’s impossible for us to have our standard of living without using the oil and natural gas we are using right now.

It’s the same, by the way, Charles, in developing countries. In emerging economies what they need is more oil and natural gas, but international aid organizations, such as the World Bank, don’t want to lend for fossil fuel projects. They don’t want these emerging economies to come up to the level of the West.

They just want to lend for hydropower, wind and solar rather than lending for coal-fired power plants, natural gas, oil. They say this will interfere with the transition to net zero.

Charles: I’m just flabbergasted. I have asked you the same question in 14 different formats and you haven’t blinked and you’re giving the same answer. I’m trying to say, I must be missing something.

Diana: You’re not missing anything, Charles. It’s the other people who are missing it. Plus, there’s the view about China getting more belligerent, potentially attacking Taiwan. Lack of pipeline construction is making China stronger and America weaker because it’s using more of China’s resources.

So China is getting all this business exporting wind turbines and solar panels to the United States. Seven of the largest wind turbine manufacturers, seven of the largest solar panel manufacturers are in China. We’re basically making China rich and impoverishing ourselves by not having this system of pipelines and using our own resources.

You know, back in the 1970s President Nixon said he wanted us to be energy independent. He didn’t know then that we are sitting on one of the largest reserves of oil and natural gas in the entire world. Now we are energy independent. What are we doing now? Giving away our energy independence to China that is no friend of ours right now.

Charles: So we’re finally going to be free – well, we were free for a while in 2018. I think we were a net exporter of energy. We gave up OPEC and we replaced it with China.

Diana: That’s what some people want. I don’t think it’s ever going to happen in practice, but that’s what some people want. The thing about China is that it has lower energy costs because it doesn’t stick to any of the rules we have in the United States. And they are building multiple coal-fired plants every week.

They use coal-fired power, which is less expensive than wind and solar or even our restricted, regulated sources of fossil fuels. They have cheaper energy. They have cheaper capital because their government subsidizes capital to its favorite industries, such as CATL the battery plant that’s just opening up in Michigan.

And it has cheaper labor because they can use forced labor from Xinjiang. They can use these Uyghurs who are in concentration camps to make the wind turbines and solar panels. So basically for them they have much lower costs around capital and labor.

They are taking advantage of us. It’s only our regulations here in the United Sates that are preventing our companies from doing the business that they want to do and producing the energy that our country needs.

Charles: So this seems to be an unforced error by the United States.

Diana: I don’t know if it’s unforced. This is a deliberate error. This is a deliberate decision. As you said, it was on day one that President Biden said he was going to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline. By the way, over the past year he’s gone to Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. He’s asked them to produce more oil.

But our friend Canada, that has the same kind of oil as Venezuela known as heavy crude, which could be brought down to be refined in our refineries here and turned into gasoline and heating oil, he doesn’t want to purchase it from our friends in Canada.

When he said he needed more oil and he was calling Venezuela, calling Saudi Arabia, I called Jason Kenney who was then premier of Alberta in Canada. I said, “Jason, has President Biden called you asking you for oil?” He said, “No, he hasn’t.”

But he said that Canada could send down right away an extra 250,000 barrels a day that we could be using and refining. And if the Keystone XL pipeline were approved, he could be sending 450,000 barrels a day. So they have the oil. Why don’t we go to our friend in Canada and get it and get this pipeline approved?

Because North America is the perfect oil platform. The heavy crude that’s produced in Canada matches up with our refineries and our refineries turn it into the gasoline and heating oil. They have the heavy crude, we have the refineries. There’s a free trade agreement between our two countries. It’s the perfect match.

Charles: I don’t understand what’s holding that back? Why are we going to Venezuela?

Diana: Because the president just hasn’t asked Canada. Point one. Second, he ended the Keystone XL pipeline.

Charles: You mentioned we could get at least 250,000?

Diana: He said he could. Jason Kenney said he could send us an extra 250,000 barrels a day, but he was not asked. President Biden did not call him.

Charles: Hang on to that. We could send 250,000 now if he just placed a phone call. Is that right?

Diana: Yes, that’s right.

Charles: Maybe he doesn’t have this guy’s number.

Diana: I’m sure the State Department does somewhere. It’s a very large bureaucracy. Someone must have Jason Kenney’s number.

Charles: Why doesn’t Jason call Biden and say, “Why are you shopping in Venezuela? Why are you going to beg Saudi Arabia?” Explain that to me as an American who pays taxes, who lives in this country, and is trying to figure out why our government is doing something so asinine as going to dictators and monarchies on the other side of the world in hostile places.

Why aren’t we getting supplemented by Canada? If there’s an extra 250,000 – forget about the Keystone pipeline. Why aren’t we getting 250,000 barrels a day from Canada? Because he didn’t call?

Diana: Well yes. We could have. In fact, last week I spoke to a meeting of Canadian parliamentarians. They came down to Washington to visit. They fully agree that they could be supplying more oil to the United States than they are right now.

Charles: Why aren’t they? You’re telling me it’s just a phone call? There has to be more to this.

Diana: Yes. President Biden wants to buy oil from Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. He hasn’t approached Canada about buying more oil.

Charles: What’s the logic in that? Tell me. Do they have a bad idea?

Diana: There isn’t any logic. As far as I’m concerned there’s no logic. There’s no logic at all.

Charles: And our Senators and Congresspeople, what are they saying when they hear this stupidity?

Diana: I’m not sure if they are aware of it, if they are focused on this. I mean, I hope they have, but I’m not sure if they are focused on it. Have you noticed, Charles, that we seem to be treating our friends worse than our enemies in some ways?

Charles: We did a great job in the Middle East with our friends. Iran got treated better than our allies.

Diana: Right. This is yet another example. Venezuela is friends with China. We shouldn’t be doing business with them.

Charles: How are we doing business with Venezuela? We are giving the keys to the kingdom to China. We’re asking them to take over. Even if renewable energy is possible, the source for all the material and all the supplies are coming from China. It just boggles my mind.

Diana: Exactly. This week the EPA is going to come up with another set of rules to make it even more important for Americans to buy electric cars. Or to put it more precisely, for car companies to produce electric cars. These electric cars are all run with batteries, most of which come from China. So it’s not just the wind turbines and the solar panels.

It’s also the electric batteries from the vehicles. Those come from China too. China has a lock on a lot of the minerals. It has a lot of lithium. China has bought up a lot of cobalt from the Democratic Republic of Congo. And this major battery producer, the largest in the world, called CATL that Governor Youngkin of Virginia said he was not going to have in Virginia.

But Michigan said it was happy to have that Chinese-operated battery company. It’s owned by Ford, but operated by the Chinese. So this gives our tax credits to the Chinese, part of our tax credit for batteries to the Chinese.

Charles: Diana, you’re an intelligent woman. I am listening to you. You had me sold after the first three minutes. I’m saying I must be missing something. I’m saying I must not understand. But you laid out the argument. I’m trying to see. I’m doing my best to try to see the other side of the argument.

I failed to see that. When you speak, you’re at the Heritage Foundation?

Diana: Yes.

Charles: You write papers and you speak to people in power. How do they react to what you say? Are they are infuriated as I am?

Diana: Oh yes. Many of them are. When I explain it to people, they totally understand. When I tell them, Charles, that in Wyoming there’s only 510 registered electric vehicles and similar numbers in Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, yet the federal government is spending $25 million for each of these states to put electric charging stations in, that doesn’t make any sense either.

Now, I’m sure you and all our listeners have woken up to a dead battery because of the cold. Well, in these very cold states, these electric batteries lose 20% to 405 of their range. They have to be charged up even more often. That’s why people in Wyoming only buy 510 electric vehicles.

Now when the Department of Transportation wanted to put in the electric charging stations in Wyoming, the governor of Wyoming said, “Could you put them near our tourist areas in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks because we have tourists visit in their Teslas?”

What do you think the Transportation Department said? No. They were going to put them over the whole state. They couldn’t concentrate them in that particular area. Then Wyoming said, “Could we wave the rule that the electric charging stations are within a mile of the highway? Because we have gas stations that are further away than a mile and we want to put the electric charging stations where the gas stations are?”

That way someone can go to a convenience store, they can use the bathroom, they can go to a restaurant. Guess what the Transportation Department said. No, we have to put them within a mile. So Wyoming said we’re just not going to take these electric charging stations. We’re going to turn down the $25 million.

We’re not going to accept the charging stations because we don’t need charging stations just out in the middle of nowhere where no one is going to use them and we, the state, will be responsible for maintaining them. That’s going to be an additional cost on the taxpayers of Wyoming for no reason.

Electric vehicles don’t make sense in many cold environments. I think Alaska has 1,200 electric vehicles. The distances are much larger. The batteries lose range because of the cold. You need gasoline, which brings us back to the pipelines. We need to be using and producing this gasoline for certain areas and certain functions where electric batteries don’t work.

But the Biden Administration is focusing on electric vehicles. There’s going to be another EPA rule proposal that will come out later in April that’s going to be trying to incentivize these car companies to produce even more electric vehicles that people don’t want to buy.

Remember, last year Americans bought — 95% of the vehicles Americans bought had an engine in them. Only 5% were battery powered electric.

Charles: I thought it was less than 5.

Diana: It was 5% last year.

Charles: I think 3% of all vehicles on the road are electric or is that moving up to 5?

Diana: Well this was sales. I’m sure it’s right the 2% or 3%, but this was vehicles purchased in 2021. 5% were electric.

Charles: Wow.

Diana: That’s with all these tax credits by the way. That’s with these auto companies raising the prices of their SUVs and pickup trucks and using that money to subsidize the electric vehicles to try to persuade people to buy them. And when they can persuade people to buy them, they have to purchase credits because they haven’t sold enough.

They purchase credits from Tesla. So Tesla is not just a car company, it’s a credit-selling company. They sell their credits to these other companies because the other companies haven’t sold enough electric vehicles. I don’t know if it’s malice or incompetence. You can make your pick.

All I know is the system does not make sense.

Charles: It can be both.

Diana: Could be.

Charles: How do you see this all playing out? What’s the endgame here?

Diana: I see it as just a huge waste of money, Charles. I see electric vehicles as the biggest bubble since Dutch tulips. We’re putting all this money into it, but they’re just not practical. They’re not practical in the cold. They’re not practical for a family that wants to take kids on vacation and that doesn’t want to wait 45 minutes to charge up its electric battery.

It’s not practical for a family like mine, for example, that regularly drove down to South Carolina, an 8 or 10 hour trip with six kids, six bicycles, two dogs, all in a Chevy Express van. It doesn’t make any sense having to wait 45 minutes to charge up a vehicle. People aren’t going to want it.

What people actually like to buy are these hybrids. Not plugin hybrids, the others. Because then the mechanisms of the engine charge the battery. You get much higher fuel efficiency because your partly going on battery, partly going on your internal combustion engine. You can always put more gas in your car. You never worry about what’s called range anxiety, just running out of range for your car.

Charles: Last question for you. The more I speak to you, the more I realize we’re in a situation here which gets stupider as the day goes on because we have the solution in front of us and we keep finding ways in order to not only block the solution, but create a bigger problem and kick the can down the road.

Take a bigger problem and create a bigger problem. Think about the EV charging stations, which is a joke. It gets stupider and stupider. My last question to you is this, is it going to be a change in the Oval Office, in Congress, the Senate between – I don’t know if it’s Democrat and Republican, I don’t even know at this point.

There’s so much money being sloshed around. Who knows where anybody really stands. How does it end? How does this end? We keep doing this stupidity for what? Another two years? Four years? Six years?

Diana: The next Republican Administration is going to try to pause or reverse these rules on electric vehicles and is going to try to promote more pipelines and better use of oil and gas. I think when people’s electricity bills and gasoline bills have gone up enough they are going to be incentivized to vote for another party, assuming the Republican Party doesn’t do other stupid things that alienate consumers in other ways.

All things being equal, in terms of energy bills, electricity bills, then we need a change in government to have a change in environmental and energy policy.

Charles: All I know is this winter – and we had a mild winter in New York – my energy bills, my electric bill, my gas bill, which I never thought much of, went up almost double. I think my electric bill is almost what I paid initially for my apartment. Meaning the whole rent. It’s absolutely staggering.

Diana: Right. It’s because connecting these wind turbines and solar panels with the grid is very expensive. Each wind farm has to have a backup natural gas power plant for when the natural gas kicks in when the wind stops blowing. It’s more expensive running that natural gas power plant cycling on and off than it would be to run it continuously. That’s why your electricity bills are going up.

But don’t you feel good using more wind and solar? Don’t you, Charles? That’s what they think. They think that Charles is going to feel good using more wind and solar so he’s not going to mind about the high electricity bills.

Charles: You know, I want to confess that before I met Mark Mills – I had him on the show last April – I had just leased a Tesla. I got rid of a gas car, a Volvo. Then my lease went up on a second car and I got another Tesla. Then the more I kept learning about this I said, “My gosh, what did I do?”

Forget about the fact that electricity, where does electricity come from? Fairy dust? The fact of cobalt in the Congo. 80% of all the mines are owned by the Chinese. Slave labor, artisanal labor, whatever they want to call it in mining. Lithium. 17 critical minerals are not in the United Sates.

We’re not even opening mines in the United States. We’re just, as you mentioned, continually feed China. I said, “What did I do? I was sold a bill of goods.” I mean, I wasn’t sold. I bought into the story.

Diana: For someone who can charge up the Tesla at home in a garage and doesn’t have to drive very far to work, it does make sense. But for people who have to go long distances where there are no electric charging stations, it makes less sense.

You know, they say that Mao and Stalin liked people to go in trains because that way they could track where they went. If the federal government is putting the electric charging stations out, they can track where people go because people can only go in their electric vehicles where the charging stations are.

Charles: Wow. Can’t they do it with gas stations now?

Diana: Gas stations are all independent. The federal government isn’t putting up any gas stations. They haven’t had to because everybody wants to buy gasoline-powered cars. These gas stations, you even have supermarkets putting in gas pumps. The federal government has never had to put in place one single gasoline pump.

Charles: Now you are giving me another reason to stay up at night. Wow. Thank you, Diana. Wow. That’s astounding. That’s astounding. Alright. Diana, where can my listeners find you?

Diana: My website is Or they can find me on website.

Charles: Fantastic. Diana, keep – this must be disheartening to you. You speak to intelligent people and – well, I guess it could be encouraging. You speak to these people and you enlighten them, right?

Diana: Frequently when I explain it to them then they understand. But the biggest argument I get back is, “Yes, but technology will change. By the time it’s 2050, we will have the technology to put this into practice.” So it’s a bit like Field of Dreams, build it and they will come.

Regulate it and the technology will magically appear. But the technology hasn’t appeared so far. It just doesn’t seem to make sense with the laws of physics that we can power all of America’s electricity with these renewables. You know young people, they like to charge their phones every night.

They use a lot of electricity and they enjoy using electricity. They don’t want to cut back.

Charles: Diana, thank you so much for enlightening me and enlightening our listeners. All the power to you. Keep fighting the good fight. Hopefully your intelligence, the way you present, your voice, you’re very sweet and very nice. You just come out with facts after facts.

They seem to be you can’t dispute them. I’m trying to think of the other side and I just don’t get it. I keep saying I’m missing something.

Diana: You’re not missing anything, Charles. No. Thank you so much for having me on your show and allowing me to talk about these very important issues.

Charles: My pleasure. Thank you so much, Diana. Best of luck to you.

Diana: Certainly. Thank you.

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