If you think of U.S. energy policy in Freudian terms, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour represents the pure, unbridled id. His energy strategy for the state? “More energy.“
If you’re wondering what that means, he spells it out:
Mississippi has large deposits of lignite coal, and the Mississippi Power Co. has announced that it will build a coal-fired electrical generation facility that will have carbon capture and sequestration. As I understand it, this coal-fired plant will have the emissions of a power plant powered by natural gas because the captured carbon will be compressed and then injected into older oil wells to boost production.
Rentech has announced that it’s building a coal-to-liquids fuels plant near Natchez. In Greenville we’ve got a biodiesel plant going in. And Entergy has already applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build a second nuclear reactor near St. Francisville.
The response of his interlocutor T. Boone Pickens? “The rest of the country might want to take a look at your state.”
Yeah, take a look at what the resource curse looks like in America: Among U.S. states Mississippi ranks 50th in infant mortality, first in children living in poverty, second in teen pregnancies, 48th in bachelor degrees, 50th in per-capita income, first in obesity, 49th in overall health, second in unemployment, and first in poverty.
Despite the grinding poverty, Mississippi ranks 14th in per-capita energy consumption, perhaps because it ranks 47th in energy efficiency.
Yes, the rest of the country might want to take a look at what a supply-obsessed “more energy” strategy yields.