By Jon Dougherty
On Thursday to much mainstream media fanfare freshman Democratic Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York formally introduced her “Green New Deal,” a radical plan to “transform” the U.S. economy by killing off all fossil fuel energy sources, eliminating air travel, and replacing every building in the country within a decade — all while providing every American with a job or a basic income, at taxpayer’s expense.
One would think that much planning would preclude the introduction of such an audacious, game-changing economic-and-social-justice initiative, but then again, Ocasio-Cortez is as new at pitching these kinds of initiatives as she is at being a member of Congress. And with the spotlight on her, exuberance obviously took over for better judgment.
Ocasio-Cortez gave NPR the ‘scoop,’ providing the taxpayer-funded network with the Green New Deal resolution and an accompanying FAQ document that provide its objectives — namely, to “(m)ove America to 100% clean and renewable energy” within a decade.
The FAQ document Ocasio-Cortez’s staff gave to NPR reads:
“A Green New Deal is a massive investment in renewable energy production and would not include creating new nuclear plants. It’s unclear if we will be able to decommission every nuclear plant within 10 years, but the plan is to transition off of nuclear and all fossil fuels as soon as possible.”
Indeed, NPR reported the “ultimate goal is to stop using fossil fuels entirely, Ocasio-Cortez’s office told NPR, as well as to transition away from nuclear energy.”
But it quickly became apparent that the legislative language of the massive plan did not match up with the FAQ Ocasio-Cortez provided to NPR, leaving her staff scrambling to take down a “gaffe-ridden summary” of the bill, The Daily Caller reported.
“Frankly, it does a disservice to the debate,” Jeremy Harrell, policy director at ClearPath, a conservative group promoting low-emissions energy, told the news organization.
“Realistically, you can’t decommission a nuclear plant in 10 years,” Harrell told TheDCNF.
In fact, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute, full deactivation of an existing nuclear power plant takes sixty years — 60 — and must be done according to strict mandates. This fact is easily researched and readily available online.
“She’s making false promises that aren’t even in the realm of the doable,” said Harrell. “She’s using this to push a liberal agenda.”
Other nuclear advocates called out Ocasio-Cortez’s factually incorrect assertions. Mike Shellenberger, founder of the pro-nuclear group Environmental Progress, noted the discrepancy between her office’s FAQ and her own claim at a Capitol Hill rally for the Green New Deal that it was about “transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy,” though the document says the “plan is to transition off of nuclear” energy.
I have been questioned on my reporting that Green New Deal is anti-nuclear & I stand by it
The office of @AOC put out a *written* document stating that "plan is to transition off of nuclear"
— Mike Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) February 7, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez’s staff took out the anti-nuclear language from the FAQ posted on her congressional website, The Daily Caller reported. But that page was taken down by Thursday afternoon.
That said, other changes were made to the FAQ before it was taken offline. For instance, the plan explained how the resolution used the term “net-zero emissions, rather than zero emissions” because “we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast.”
“Farting cows?” That juvenile language was removed after a reporter brought Ocasio-Cortez staffers’ attention to it (remember, this was supposed to be a serious proposal).
There’s more. Democrats who immediately signed onto this nonsensical plan couldn’t explain away other facets of it, such as how the world — or at least the United States — should transition away from the internal combustion engine that has been the driver of progress and prosperity for more than a century. Or how “fast” we could and should “get rid of…airplanes” so we can replace them with “high-speed rail” service (including from the U.S. to Europe — that is, unless we allow foreign airliners to land here).
In ‘appreciation’ for all of Ocasio-Cortez’s efforts, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) declared the Green New Deal a “suggestion” and then proceeded to name more members to the newly-formed House climate change committee — though the New York Democratic Socialist wasn’t one of them.
So much for first impressions.
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10
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