I am not opposed to clean air

There was a great and very emotional reaction to my column earlier this week saying that so-called "progressive" and "green" movements are the real threat to the U.S. energy industry, not lower energy prices. ("Here's the real energy threat (Hint: not Saudi Arabia or OPEC)")

I say so-called because, while they have indeed been successful in shutting down and blocking many coal and crude oil projects in this country, they've also been responsible for blocking much cleaner energy like nat gas, nuclear and even many solar and wind projects.

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I'm firmly in the other camp. Yes, I realize that nat gas and nuclear power aren't perfect. But they're a lot cleaner than crude oil and coal and much safer than they were 35 years ago. Reducing emissions and pollution by 25 percent or 50 percent is a lot more realistic than trying to reduce them by 100 percent.

I'm also a big fan of humans. Some of my best friends are human, so I should know. I'm extremely suspicious of any group who thinks reducing the world's population is an answer to our problems, and reducing our energy expansion is a way to achieve that. It's important to note that all the people on Earth who advocate population reduction are conveniently still alive themselves.

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Many of the commenters saw my assessment as a cheerleading exercise for Big Oil or denying the importance of clean air.

Dennis C. wrote:
"This guy should run for office as Republican science denier he will fit right in with the flat Earth people."

Actually, I'm very much in favor of the cleaner energy alternatives out there especially nat gas and even solar and wind in many cases.

Bob N. agreed with me that progressives often resemble the Luddites:

"We call these people BANANAS – Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything."

Finally, there were some commenters who proved my point that they simply oppose anything the traditional energy companies do.

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Ronald wrote:

"… the oil industry has caused worldwide destruction of the environment on an unprecedented scale that includes the genocide of many indigenous peoples. All this fueled by the unbridled greed of the 1%."

Well, if you consider the fossil fuel companies to be widespread genocidal murderers, I sure hope you didn't use electricity or battery power to log on to CNBC.com or fuel to get to work, or nat gas to heat your home last night.

Commentary by Jake Novak, supervising producer of "Street Signs." Follow him on Twitter @jakejakeny.

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