Environmentalists Wrongfully Accused

by Staff

Bush blames environmentalists, uses crisis forhis own gain

Members of President Bush’s administration and others have blamedenvironmentalists for the energy crisis in California. However, ifthey had done their research, they would realize they’re wrong.

Yes,California’s environmentalists have been opposed to building nuclearplants. But, for the past decade, environmental groups have notblocked the building of new power plants in California. In fact,groups like the Sierra Club have supported both updating older,inefficient generating plants and building new, cleaner and moreefficient plants.

If the finger is pointed at anyone, it should be former governor,Pete Wilson. He signed a 1996 bill that deregulated electricity,causing many of the problems of the current crisis.

Also, during the 2000 presidential campaign, oil and natural gascompanies gave more than $1 million in direct contributions to Bush.Could these be same Texan companies profiting from the shortage ofenergy in California? Could this be the reason Bush does not want tohelp California solve its problem with federal aid? Why is hisadministration is playing the blame game?

In trying to make the environmentalists look like the “bad guys”,the new administration is hoping it can build support for Bush’ssignature energy cause: drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National WildlifeRefuge.

This plan appeals to many, including Californians, who feel thatit would help replenish our shortage of natural resources. But I feelthat Bush’s Alaskan drilling plan fails to acknowledge certainparticulars for Californian consumers.

First, if the plan went forward, oil from Alaska would not produceany immediate energy or relief for Californians. The intended sitefor drilling might not produce any oil supplies for 10 years.

In the Los Angeles Times last month, Mari Margil of the OregonSierra Club said, “Drilling in the Arctic Refuge is no solution. Itwill not solve California’s crisis today, tomorrow or even five yearsfrom now.”

The Bush administration should immediately focus on alternativesources of energy instead of proposing to destroy one of the lastuntouched natural habitats in the United States. Environmentalconcerns did not cause the crisis and the Alaskan environment shouldnot suffer for our problem.

Vice President Dick Cheney, another endorser of the Alaskanoil-drilling plan, stated California’s absence of power plantconstruction for the past 10 years is due to excessive environmentalcontrols. Yet, Cheney’s statement seems to contradict the facts. Whywould power plant construction be held back for environmental reasonswhen in fact newer plants can be up to 50 percent more efficient and90 percent cleaner than the older ones?

Our crisis is not the fault of extreme environmental controls ordue to the lobbying of environmentalists. These fallacies will bedisproved when more than 20 other states go forward with plans toderegulate their electric utilities. When those states are faced withthe same situation as California, critics will realize that ourproblems are not a result of “environmental extremism.”

–Karen Roessing is an English junior. Send email to daletter2000@hotmail.com.

–This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of TheDaily Aztec.

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