Energy Plan or Environmental Disaster?

    The corporately sponsored "Energy Plan" of the Chaney Administration is, simply put, crap.  There is little, if anything, of actual substance within it and its goals are targeted at problems that haven't been of any consequence in twenty five years.

    As we all know, the vast majority of his plan is a framework for massive increases in welfare for the oil, coal, and nuclear industries.  The plan offers no immediate relief nor does it offer any concrete policies that will lessen our dependence on petroleum, only increase the pollution it causes when refined and burned both in power plants and in our automobiles.

    The plan's aim to "streamline" rules on power plant and refinery expansions is simply a conservative code for easing all anti-pollution regulations put in place over the last thirty years.  The reality is that there is no true power shortages and there is most assuredly zero shortages of refined fuels such as gas.  As has been pointed out repeatedly in this series, the only shortages are man made and artificial.  California had excess energy production facilities in the years leading up to the ill-conceived "deregulation" and that excess would still exist if deregulation had not made the selling of generation sources so attractive to the state's public utility companies.

    The plan orders the EPA to review whether regulations requiring state-of-the-art anti-pollution gear on upgraded refineries or power plants limits supplies.  Notice, if you will, the plan does not order that the resulting decrease it the pollutants produced are necessary and beneficial to the environment and the planter, only whether they limit supplies.  Well, I can answer that right now for the.  Anti-pollution equipment limits supplies only by way of the industry hoping to crown a pro-pollution president who would allow them to continue fouling the air, soil and water to any extent they please.  They have that particular low life type of administration now so the EPA will have no choice but to find that limiting pollution limits supplies but only until the industry gets the green light to pollute to their heart's content.

      His plan to spur construction of new nuclear power plants is a recipe for disaster on a monumental scale.  With absolutely no safe and reliable storage facilities available for the tons upon tons of radioactive waste that these power plants produce, we will watch as more and more of this potentially lethal wastes are stored next door to the poorest neighborhoods or at Yucca Mountain, a site that is nearly guaranteed to leak wastes into the aquifer and, eventually, the Colorado River.

    As I have mentioned again and again, the plan to drill in the Artic National Wildlife Reserve is only guaranteed to lower prices in Asia since that is the destination of nearly all of the oil currently being pumped in and around Alaska.  Even if it were rerouted to American refineries, it still holds out only a six month supply of oil while nearly certainly causing extreme damage to one of Earth's last wild areas.  In fact, if more oil were produced and prepared for shipping, the current facilities in and around Alaska would have to expanded at a cost of billions which, you can rest assured, would be paid for out of your pocket.

    The idea that we need more and more pipelines to transport oil and natural gas is also just another instance of outright corporate welfare.  There is no shortage of fuel, only a shortage of honesty and truth from this evil administration.

    Folks, the real energy shortages occurred in the seventies when OPEC slowed production to a crawl.  The domestic producers immediately reduced their production, not for any lack of raw materials, but simply because they knew that the gullible public would blame OPEC.  Thus, any massive increases in the costs of that fuel would be laid at the feet of those greedy old Arabs and the domestic producers could then sponge up whatever increased profits those spiraling costs offered.  In every single "energy crisis" that this nation has faced in the last fifty years, the producers of that energy have shown record breaking profits for years following that crisis.  Once again, in the latest and most ill-considered deregulation of the electrical industry, subsidiaries that only distribute electricity shows a loss but that loss is only on paper.  The parent companies of Edison and PG&E are, as always, showing massive profits while pushing any imaginary losses off onto the books of their divisions.

    The part of the plan to construct a national energy grid is actually one I have often spoken out for and one that I believe would be beneficial to the nation.  There would be no crisis in California if the state was capable of purchasing power from any producer in the country.  The plan to build this grid by building the hundreds of thousands of towers and poles on private property will be dead on arrival unless it is designed fairly.  If the power lines are built in and around the poorest neighborhoods but the more affluent cities and neighborhoods are spared that intrusion, then there should be a massive uprising against this portion of the plan.  Unless Beverly Hills receives its fair share of ugly and intrusive and possibly unhealthy high voltage lines then the nation should loudly refuse to allow this to be considered.

    A very strong argument against giving the federal government the right to condemn private property in order to create right of ways for this system is the long trumpeted conservative notion of state's rights and limited power to the federal government.  If state's rights are so important and the federal government so inefficient then why propose any policy that gives such power to that same government?  If welfare for the poorest among us is better left in the hands of the state's, then why give the federal government such absolute power over land owners?

    Nevertheless, a bonus that should be considered along with any such grid would be for a nation-wide series of canals, tunnels, reservoirs, and pipes that would join together the entire country in order to share the nation's wealth of water.  No longer would farmers or communities be completely at the mercy of Mother Nature.  No longer would the news report flooding in one area of the country and drought in another.  Most of the excess water that would otherwise cause flooding would be redirected to those areas most in need of that water.  On a constant basis, though, the movement of water form one point to another can be used to generate the cleanest form of power other than solar or wind, hydro power.  Wherever the water decreases in elevation power can be produced.  Wherever it must increase in elevation, that same power could be utilized to pump the water to its destination.  But this is just a digression from the subject at hand, isn't it?

    Conservation is given little attention in this "energy plan", even though conservation negates the need for more power plants by reducing the load on the current plants.  While the plan claims that conservation is a cornerstone of the scheme, the vast majority of the provisions lead only to increased drilling for oil and mining of coal and the insane introduction of more nuclear by-products and waste into our already over filled nuclear waste depositories.

    The plan offers small rebates for insulating homes and even for purchasing the new breed of hybrid automobiles.  What it doesn't offer is the generous tax breaks and credits for the needed research that will make renewable energy sources financially feasible for the average American.  What it doesn't offer is any incentives to wean his nation from its self-destructive love affair with the three most polluting sources of energy on earth; oil, coal, and nuclear.  What it doesn't do is to pour the necessary funds into any direction that will result in cleaner air and less pollution caused cancers and respiratory diseases.

    Gentle readers, this insane and useless "energy plan" is one that will only result in disaster to the environment and injuries to the myriad species of life on this small, blue planet.  It is only more of the same nonsense and half truths that Corporate America has been forcing down the nation's collective throats ever since that senile old fool Reagan took office and destroyed everything that was once decent about this nation.  The current occupants of the White House have nothing new to offer except more pollution, more environmental damage, and more health injuries to you and I.

    The best and only sensible energy plan would be one that offered huge rebates and tax credits to both the manufacturer and the purchaser of hybrid and pure electric vehicles.  It would be one that offered massive financial and tax incentives for the research and production of solar, wind, geothermal, and any other new and innovative sources of renewable and clean energy.  It would be one that focuses directly on cessation of petroleum refining as anything other than a cheap and inadequate lubricant.  It would entail a vision far into the future of this planet and would aim towards creating energy in such abundance and with so little up front costs that the third world nations would be able to produce the energy needed to become nations which manufacture rather than subsist.  It would target every avenue available that will make our reliance on using up an extremely limited resource such as oil and replace it with others that will exist forever.

    Is there much hope for these positive, long term solutions to be even discussed in Congress or the Oval Office?  Of course not!  The criminals who are occupying the White House have convinced themselves and the Democrats in Congress that being crowned President by the Supreme Court, even having lost the popular vote and having had to steal an election in an entire state in order to be there, somehow gives these little creatures the right to think that they have a mandate from the American people.  Until the Democrats find a spine among themselves and get up off of their knees, stupid and destructive "plans" such as this will sail through Congress and off to the Oval Office for signing.  Frankly, I'm not all that hopeful for any positive change in any of these obstacles.

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Copyright 5/27/01