Letter to the Editor: Trust the Experts You Employ

6 mins read

Driven by ambition, most politicians invite industry to help them alter solutions developed by tax payer funded researchers so they can claim credit, win votes, and reward donars. This industrial/political corruption could be seen in the debate between those who thought unruly school children should be medicated and those who thought the solution was intervention, and perhaps the prevalence of unruly school children suggested the education system should be altered. It could be seen in the decades long argument that led our government to pursue the foreign policies that cost it the ability to keep petroleum prices stable. And it can be seen in the effort to radically alter how we manage electric delivery in Maine, while leaving unchanged the factors that drive cost through the roof.

We fail to trust people like us in government, those who staff the many agencies that advise it on our behalf, trusting instead in politicians and the industry leaders they embrace. We do this because we want to believe those who have attained such heights made better decisions and will do the same for us, failing in the process to understand that they’re under no obligation to do so. We forget successful people are often successful because they’ve learned to put themselves first in every transaction.

If we want this fixed, we’re going have to trust those who do research and advise government for us. Otherwise, our politicians will continue to help industry leaders by offering poorly considered alternatives that allow them both to profit. I’d hoped we’d do before the strategy developed to prevent those funding Middle Eastern extremism could use the insecurity it generated to trigger a conflict capable of empowering leaders like Saudi Prince Mohammad bin Salman and Vladimir Putin, but the defense agencies and war colleges that developed it weren’t able to compete with the influence other parties held over our political leaders. Unfortunately few of those politicians, who imaged being received as heros for securing the region, could imagine they might be falling prey to a cunning plan hatched by Middle Eastern leaders determined to undermine the influence we held there.

I make note of this here because those empowered as a result of decisions our political leaders made in the Middle East have added considerable expense to energy production throughout the world by limiting output. Russia’s ability to influence prices through OPEC+ is a direct consequence of the space left them when the adhoc approach to Middle Eastern extremism our political leaders preferred forced us fo deploy personnel to 85 separate nations. We simply couldn’t keep Russia in check spread as thin as we were. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia uses the leverage it acquired by encouraging our political leaders to pursue extremist groups it secretly funded to limit output through OPEC. It’s a power play that’s led to desperation and opportunism here, as we seek relief from elevated prices.

Industry leaders and political leaders don’t think long term. They’re all about using the interest they can generate today to do things they can take credit for, whether or not there’s a good chance they’ll make sense in the long run. They hate that the researchers we employ as taxpayers are as cautious and committed to long term plans as they are because they don’t allow them to be heroes. You should appreciate them though, because they struggle like you do and want to ensure the communities they grew up in are able to thrive. You should trust them because they’re driven by their devotion to you, not your money or your vote.

Trust the ordinary people who staff the government offices and research centers when they tell you the only way to reduce electric prices is to limit the use of natural gas in generation, not management of the delivery mechanism. Trust those who approved of the New England Clean Energy Connect because it promises to do this while reducing carbon emissions. Don’t trust those who tell you it’s better to go into debt investing in solar and wind now, because they’re asking you to ignore those researchers who tell us the money saved by importing hydroelectricity will help pay for those additions. Trust instead those researchers who tell you the fastest way to energy independence is to add to this project a transmission line that allows electricity generated here to be sold in Quebec. Trust that if we do this we won’t have to invest in battery storage, because Quebec will buy the excess we generate.

Jamie Beaulieu
Farmington, Maine


Opinion pieces reflect the views of the individual author, and do not reflect the views of the Daily Bulldog, Mt. Blue TV, or Central Maine Media Alliance. Publication of an opinion piece does not equate to endorsement of the content of the piece.

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