Democratic Underground

Addicted to Power
July 24, 2001
by Maren L. Hickton

President Bush's campaign was heavily backed by big power companies including Exxon-Mobil and other fossil fuel interest groups. Bush, Cheney and their band of energy pals came to the White House with decades of involvement in the energy industry. As a result, it should come as no surprise to any of us that their parochial vision related to an energy plan for the United States, or the world for that matter, is heavily tilted towards power production. Production is what they understand the best and, unfortunately for us, we must work hard to help Congress fight their energetic machinations to get their fix, the seduction they have succumbed to, where they have ended up sucking-up to big power companies in private meetings and producing in their current unbalanced Energy Plan for this nation.

We can cave in and say, "Let them do what they want in ANWR," and destroy what's left of the earth and continue to waste power. We can whine and insist that the government should pay for energy (like Cheney's doing now at his mansion), continue to demand for energy assistance programs for things like air conditioning, which in some areas used to be a luxury - like many other huge energy-using appliances that we now take for granted. We can continue to buy SUVs and vans and insist that these manufacturers lower their gas mileage and overcome gravity, rather than buying smaller cars, expecting that these larger vehicles are constructed more lightweight with safety questions related to rollovers and uncertainty over split tires presently being disputed in lawsuits. We can continue to burn incandescent light bulbs and use inefficient appliances that waste more energy. Or we can work together to conserve, think and buy smart, and help those who can't help themselves - including Bush and Co.

Mother Earth and this atmosphere is all we got. While Congress continues its discussion about X number of millions of gallons of crude, how much coal or what amount of natural gas is located in which region on what part of the globe - it's all very interesting, but there is by no means a limitless supply, with "crude" a good word for energy - anywhere. At least not on earth. NASA continues to try to dig its way out of a budget shambles along with our real defense force - the military, while Bush plans to continue to blow up millions of taxpayer dollars with missile defense tests in his consistent grandiose display of confused priorities. This tax money would be better utilized funding continued R&D for energy alternatives and on NASA, if for no other reason, to explore space for toxic energy waste stores, for wastes that are not able to be safely recycled.

Digging, drilling and pumping today is only a Band-Aid for tomorrow; it will not solve long-term energy problems by any stretch of the imagination. Further, major exploration now is an unsound investment in that it would take years to realize any return during a period of time where our economy is not strong, and when realized, will only add to the pollution of one of the biggest polluters on earth: US.

The President's current Energy Plan is, therefore, incomplete and seriously flawed in that we risk hurting the entire global environment, risk already-strained foreign relationships, all for a short-term solution purported to reduce our dependency on foreign oil. Something not likely to ever happen without serious conservation efforts and the addition of newer, alternative energy technology.

We must, therefore, continue to explore alternative fuel sources. Raping our environment, endangering creatures large and small and the natural balance of life - our ecosystem, risking spills and kills, is flat-out immoral. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other remaining wilderness areas need not be on the energy map if we take the time to find these alternatives.

Bush's energy-crisis by design experiment in California resulting in the record number of blackouts, due to his immediate failure to investigate, revealed a variety of issues that contribute to the energy problems that we face in America today. The list includes, but is not limited to, the following:

1. Energy companies need to be monitored more carefully so that collusion does not occur anywhere in this country.

2. Deregulation to build a competitive energy market only works if you have interested suppliers in a particular region, enough people buying from these suppliers, and protections to consumers as new unknown suppliers come to the marketplace.

3. High bills encourage customers to venture into places in their minds and hearts to seek cost saving innovations, help others, and further develop already energy-smart behaviors.

Governor Davis and his tireless group of advocates for the people of his State should all receive a medal of valor and could certainly be impaneled to teach us all a few things. While we don't have a crisis now, as is continually reported, we do have the power ourselves to drastically cut our energy bills which will hopefully avert the immediate need for us to act on an unsound plan until an alternative, more balanced plan can be developed.

Bush and Cheney can't help themselves. They have been addicted to power for years. It's time for tough love: Say NO to enabling further energy abuse. Say NO to the President's current Energy Plan.

References for Review:
The Home Energy Saver: http://hes.lbl.gov
Tips to Save Gas and Improve Mileage: http://www.epa.gov/oms/17-tips.htm
Alternative Energy Sources: http://www.gale.com/freresrc/earthday2000/energy.htm
Special Wastes: Crude Oil and Natural Gas: http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/other/oil/index.htm


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