Regardless of how you feel about who "won" or "lost" the three presidential election debates, one thing came through with extraordinary clarity: President Barack Obama is determined to foist high-cost "alternative" energy on Americans, while challenger Mitt Romney recognizes the need for reasonably priced electricity.
In all three debates, Romney emphasized the need to use the nation's vast reserves of oil, natural gas and coal. He understands coal will remain the most economical way of generating electricity for tens of millions of Americans long into the future.
Obama stressed development of solar and wind power, along with other "alternatives." His only references to coal were claims his administration is working hard on clean coal technology and that coal production and employment are up.
In fact, the White House has slashed funding for coal technology. U.S. consumption of coal is down dramatically. And mine employment is going down. Thousands of layoffs already have been announced in the West Virginia, Ohio and Virginia coalfields.
Utility companies have announced plans to close scores of coal-fired power plants and replace them with gas-fueled units that, in the future, will cost much more.
We are already seeing that with the NRG plant in Dunkirk and we expect the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities to follow suit at some point.
Consumers will pay the price.
Obama accuses Romney of secretly sharing his dislike for coal-fired power plants - and it is true the challenger at one time made disparaging remarks concerning coal. But his position changed dramatically as he came to understand the need for low-priced electricity and the potential for burning coal cleanly to obtain it.
Again: When energy was mentioned during the three debates, Obama stressed development of "alternatives." It has been made clear his administration has done what it could to lessen Americans' access to both domestic and Canadian oil. It has done nothing to encourage the burgeoning natural gas industry. And it has done all in its power to force Americans away from reasonably priced electricity from coal.
Romney emphasized increased production of U.S. reserves of oil, gas and coal during each of the three debates.
"I like coal. I'm going to make sure we burn clean coal," he pledged. For thoughtful voters, that means Romney won all three encounters.