- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
We all want clean air. We also want affordable energy. When it gets really hot in August, we want to be able to run our air conditioners and not have the power company tell us there is not enough to go around so each person can only have cool air for 5 minutes out of every hour.
During the last campaign for president, both candidates used energy reform as a major platform. Both acknowledged that it is important to reduce our dependence on overseas oil and to provide electricity to the masses that they can afford. Both agreed that we need long-term and short-term answers. Both agreed that coal and nuclear would provide short-term solutions and Obama said coal could be a long-term solution as well. To hear his 30 second spot, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=GehK7Q_QxPc.
By now, everyone knows that the so-called stimulus plan cuts support for coal-fired power. New transmission infrastructure is included but only if it carries a very large percentage of power provided from alternative energy sources. That means that the new cables will not be routed to help any new plants built for coal or nuclear power generation. The new tax on carbon will assure the cost of providing power with coal will make it unaffordable for the poor. The government wants to make coal energy more expensive because the cost of alternatives have not yet reached the development stage to be able to compete with coal in cost. Obama and Biden now claim there is no such thing as clean coal and it can't be done.
Last week, Department of Energy Secretary Chu announced that the Yucca Mountain depository was unacceptable. All activity would be halted and a new direction sought. This is after having spent over $13 billion dollars preparing the site and the monitoring plans. We need that facility now. Any new plans will take decades before they would be usable. Another fine example of the distain this administration seems to have on the concept of fiscal responsibility.
Talk is the only thing that is cheap these days. We need to see responsible action coming from Washington. Administrator Jackson learned that her department will receive the largest budget ever for the EPA. It is about 30 percent more than last year if the proposed budget is approved. Let's hope she uses it wisely and not just politically.