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Posted: Nov. 17, 2002
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Question of the Week: 42 - 5/21/2001
Is There An Energy Crisis?
The United States and the Bush Administration last week announced its new energy policy. Citing that an energy crisis exists, it proposes loosening environmental guidelines, drilling in the Alaska Wildness Preserve and allowing the federal government to take private lands by immanent domain for power or gas/oil lines. Do you think that a real energy crisis exists? Or do you think that the big oil/gas/electric business interests have somehow colluded to misinform the public in order to increase profits while having fewer restrictions placed upon the way that they do business? Would YOU like to see a power plant on the corner of your street if it meant lower energy prices? Do you think that some places such as federal parks and wilderness areas should be off-limits to energy exploration or exploitation? Would YOU pay higher energy costs to help preserve these places? Do you-or would you be willing- to conserve energy or use alternative forms if they were accessible and affordable? Just whose 'energy crisis' IS this anyway? (And if you have a favorite conservation/alternative energy/green activist resource that you would like to share, feel free to direct our readers over to it.)
| Reponses: There are 30 responses posted to this question.
|| Reverse Sort
| Of Course It Is A Lie. There Is No Crisis Severe Enough... ||May 27th. at 9:08:51 am EDT|
|Melora Artemisia D'Melissae (Houston, Texas US) ||Age: 34 - Email |
Of course it is a lie. There is no crisis severe enough to justify these measures. It is all about the money. I find it humorous that it should suddenly occur after the Bush administration takes office...all of the policies and protections placed by the Clinton administration are destroyed so that the big industries can profit by exploiting the resources of this nation. We already take measures to cut down on our power bills, but the rates keep going up. It doesn't matter how much slack the industries get in their operating...they bills will go up. It is how they make their money. They don't care about the impact to the environment. It has already been stated that the people of the United States are "consumers" which is another term for "Cattle". Think about it!
I am reminded of Comodus selling off the stores of grain in Rome to pay for the gladiatorial games, and the people loved him for it. In two years he would have starved them to death, and they loved him for it.
We have our own Comodus on the throne in this Republic, and I pray to the gods we have a Maximus who will dispatch him!
~Melora Artemisia D'Melissae (Wondering when the barbed wire is going up for witches)
| I Find Myself Agreeing With The Preceeding Posts. There Is No Real... ||May 26th. at 3:44:12 pm EDT|
|Jen Garon (Cincinnati, Ohio US) ||Age: 26 - Email |
I find myself agreeing with the preceeding posts. There is no real crisis, the Dubya administration saw the crisis in California and saw it as an opportunity for oilmen like Dubya and Cheney to make even more money.
Primarily, the entire world does have to consider one problem. What do we do when the oil *does* run out and there hasn't been enough devoted to those alternate sources of fuel? Perhaps it's time to start looking right now, before we are faced with a real crisis. Not a made-up one.
Second, I used to live in Alaska. The land up there is startlingly beautiful. And it needs to be left alone. It's where you get a chance to see Nature at some of her most beautiful. Nothing is uglier than seeing standing pipelines marring the landscape. I'm sure we remember the Exxon (BOO!) Valdez running aground a few years ago. Ten years later the environment was still trying to recover from the devestation. We need to protect what we have, and allow other generations to take in some of the beauty our planet has to offer.
| No, This Crisis Was Manufactured By The Big Energy Companies Just To... ||May 26th. at 3:00:02 am EDT|
|Big John (South Amboy, New Jersey US) ||Age: 40 |
No, this crisis was manufactured by the big energy companies just to raise prices and their profits. What scares me it that it was done so blatantly. I'm old enough to remember the gas lines from the 1970's. It was just as big a lie back then, but they were more covert about it. Big corporate energy knows they're not fooling anyone this time - and they don't seem to care. After all, with George Bush in the White House, they don't need to worry. Bush is an oil man just like his father before him. It's a terrible conflict of interest to have him set energy policy - much like allowing the fox to guard the hen house! His policy seems to be "We will steal your land, pollute your earth, and hand you the bill - It's for my ... er ... I mean, your own good!". I'm glad, like most Americans, I didn't vote for him.
I think the big energy industries manufactured this lie now because it may well be their last chance. Americans have become much more environmentally conscious in my life time, new hybrid electric cars are starting to come on the market, fuel cell technology is just on the horizon, and industrial pollution is less and less tolerated by the public. It's not common knowledge, but many of the nuclear plants in the US will have their operating licenses expire in the next few years. Re-licensing is very expensive and the general public doesn't want atomic power. Cleaning up the nuclear waste is going to be expensive - mainly because the isn't any safe way to dispose of it as yet. Without corporate greed energy would most likely get cheaper and cleaner as time passes.
I'm an engineer of sorts and I've been learning about alternate energy over the last quarter of a century. At the risk of getting wordy, I'd like to share a little of what I've learned with everyone here.
The main stream media seems to be focusing on sport utility vechiles as the cause of all our problems (yes, I own one). True, a lot of us drive. We all like the freedom. But there are other fuels than gasoline that you can run a car on, usually with minimal modification. Alcohol can easily be made from plants and it burns cleaner than gasoline. Many farmers used it during WWII for their tractors.
Methane (natural gas) is far more common then we are lead to believe. It can easily be made from almost any organic waste such as sewage, garbage, and manure. There are also vast deposits of it under the oceans (in deep water) in the form of methane hydrate (which looks like ice). Cars run very well on natural gas. Some fleet vechiles, school busses, and postal trucks use it now. It can also be converted to gasoline, but it's a bit more expensive that way.
Solar power is ultimately where most of the energy we have comes from. A lot of research has been done on solar power over the last 30 years. Photovoltaic (PV) pannels can convert sunlight into electric directly. They are still somewhat expensive (thanks to a lack of government funding). The price is about $7(US) per peak watt now, but back in the late 1970's it was $30. Allowing for inflation that a 10 to 1 drop. Solar heating and hot water is much cheaper, and solar pannels for hot air or water can be easily homemade.
Wind power is now at a point that it can generate electricity for about the same price as coal - and it's totally clean. There is plenty of wind on the coasts and in the central US. It's a wonderful technology that public utilities should be using a lot more of.
Saving energy at home is a good idea. Turn off the lights when you don't need them, turn down the thermostat when you aren't home, and turn off your hot water tank if your going on a long vacation (leave the pilot on if it's gas). Actually, recycling saves a lot of energy as well. Aluminum, for example, requires a lot of electric power to refine. So feel good recycling those cans! But don't feel guilty for living, the military and industry still use a lot of the oil that's pumped and they seldom care about pollution.
As pagans we care deeply about the earth. It's both our mother and our home. Energy has always come from the earth and sky. It's one of the greatest gifts the goddess has given us. It's all around you. What makes it clean or dirty, expensive or cheap is how it's used. Don't let anyone fool you, we don't have to choose between sitting in the cold and dark or raping the planet. We just need to choose a better group of people to represent us in Washington DC. Preferably people who have a soul and can see past their wallet.
| My Feedback Comes By Way Of An Article That Read, I Think... ||May 26th. at 12:51:16 am EDT|
|Rob Adamson (La Grange Park, Illinois US) ||Age: 40 - Email |
My feedback comes by way of an article that read, I think it was in the Wall Street Journal. (It would have been from the last week or so, on the front page.) The author's conclusion was that regardless of whether the crisis was "real" or not, and they had issues with how the report had been put together; the solutions proposed by the Bush Administration were bound to fail because they were the same strategies that were used to defuse the "oil crisis" of the early 70's. While the problems that we face today are completely different, the President insists on getting advice from his dad's croneys who are mired in the past, according to this article.
Then we have the absurd idea that the Bush/Cheney administration could maintain an impartial view a solution when their fortunes are entangled with "Big Oil"....yes I think there is some kind collusion or at least a willingness for the President to rely too heavily on information and suggestions from the oil companies. Rather than rip up what little pristine land we have left, we should bit the bullet and really dig into making alternative enery sources work.
And if the folks in Big Oil were smart they would do that themselves, so that they could maintain their monopoly. For all I know, they already are.
| I Would Be More Than Happy To Use Other Forms Of Energy... ||May 25th. at 8:17:24 am EDT|
|Cherie Kirk (San Antonio, Texas US) ||Age: 32 - Email |
I would be more than happy to use other forms of energy to conserve what we have now. The problem lies in the fact that the oil companies have Bush in their back pocket. They want to sqeeze what they can out of the market that is in place before they move on to other forms of energy. I would be willing to pay higher cost to keep us from detroying every last piece of land we have. I have been watching the news and the conservationist say that this is not nessesary. We can use other forms of power ie. wind, water and sun with the things we have in place. This will ease pollution and the destruction of national treasure. It will be cost effective. This whole problem was started by the Bush Administation. They saw California having some problems and then they took it so they could get more money for the oil companys that paid for his election. So no I don't think we have a problem in energy I think we have a problems in our society. The peole in the US ( not all ) act like sheep, one person cries wolf and they all start funning. Just one witch and her thoughts.
| Alls I Have To Say Is That Instead Of Saving Money By... ||May 24th. at 4:50:35 am EDT|
|Nick (somewhere, Minnesota US) ||Age: 20 |
Alls I have to say is that instead of saving money by digging up the last of our natural resources for fule, we should be trying to save money through the conservation on these natural resources. We as a antion could save more money and fule by doing simple things like tuning off lights when we aren't in a room, car pooling, walking instead of driving those few short blocks to the market, and in short STOP TAKING OUR NATURAL RESOURCES FOR GRANTED. running more pipes and digging more holes will not increase the amount of oil in the earth. it will eventualy run out. We must break free of our addiction to fossil fules.
| I Find It Interesting, The 2 Questions Posed For This Week. My... ||May 24th. at 12:48:48 am EDT|
|Calypso (Karen) (Billings, Montana US) ||Age: 30 |
I find it interesting, the 2 questions posed for this week. My answer to the first is that since there are as many paths to Spirit as there are people, that is the intrinsic importance of each person. (Hindi greeting, Namaste'" - 'I bow to the spark/God within you')
That said, yes, there is definitely a POWER SHORTAGE! Our society's focus on external superficialities (a trend going back at least to our roots in the ancient Greek and Roman philosophies) does not co-exist well with the spiritual concept of POWER. Our society has turned away from spirit-connection to true
power - That which fuels the universe - and embraced instead a superficial manipulation (aka 'technology'). There's the real Power shortage! Our superficial version of "power" is draining the planet.
I also grin ironically because our modern technological concept of "power" is still, despite society's spiritual distance, related to last week's question, 'Are the Gods/Goddesses real?' My partial answer to that comes from studying Hindu Tantrism: Sex is a symbol of the energy fueling the universe, and it takes 2 parts - often manifested in male & female - to create that energy; there is a polarity (male/female) to that energy in order to create motion (otherwise there would be no passage of time and no movement)...just like AC/DC current......!
...And so it all comes full circle eventually. But obviously our superficial manipulations are going to eventually run us to ruin. When I think of losing our technological advances, the first concern I have is medical treatment widely available in the USA. Electricity runs virtually all of it, and its research and development. Advances could not be made without computers. However, there are also any number of shamanic traditions around the world which can cure many of the illnesses we fight, and can cure many illnesses which we can't treat or even diagnose. And, again, those traditions are mostly being lost. It's too hard on plugged-in modernists to unplug and focus/apprentice in the old ways long enuf - for years - to learn them. (And the subjectivity of the old ways doesn't agree with our Greek-principles-based scientific society.)
Plus, there's money...another "power" source which is vastly out of balance in our society...and that imbalance creates its own off-kilter polarity (haves/have nots) which fuels further imbalance and sacrifices reverence. Our society, focused on scientifically categorizing every particle of the universe, cannot accept that Spirit is in everything, and cannot accept that an imbalance/inequality/destruction in one area will "trickle down" to affect us ALL. For one thing, Nature abhors a vacuum, secondly there's the 3-fold rule, and thirdly any affect upon universal energy (thermodynamics if you will) will affect everything within its system - and that includes us.
Every native group I've run across - from Alaska to the Andes - is trying to send our society a warning about our current (ha) course, and our present political administration is (due to at least one imbalance, above) only trying to accelerate the problem.
Folks, hold on to your hats. I don't see that the damage done by this administration is going to be reversible.
| P>one Of The Mailing Lists I'm On Had A Recent Thread... ||May 23rd. at 11:09:39 pm EDT|
|B.K. DeLong (Salem, Massachusetts US) ||Age: 25 - Email |
One of the mailing lists I'm on had a recent thread about Bush and the energy crisis. (There's a surprise). Anyway, one of the respondents couldn't believe that Dubya suggested the tax cut needed to be passed right away so Americans could use the money to pay for rising power costs in this "energy crisis":
"Give people more of their own money so they can meet their bills, " Bush said. "Give people money in order to be able to deal with this [fuel price] situation. If I had my way, I'd have it in place tomorrow."
What the HELL is he talking about?
<rant emotion="bitter" length="long" detail="verbose">
The only reason energy prices are so high is because the unregulated producers of said energy have marked up the price almost 1900% during peak usage times  and the only reason there is an energy shortage is because the utilities cannot afford to purchase as much energy from said producers due to this unregulated price gouging...hence, there is no energy shortage and both Dubya and Cheney (the latter of whom declared $36M on last year's taxes, most of which came from his exercising of stock options from Halliburton Co a *surprise* energy company that boasts it helped stimulate the most prolific producing oil well in the Gulf of Mexico) have no plans to step in and intervene with the energy companies. Hey, Bush and Cheney are oil men and many of the key people involved in the raping of California with regards to power are the very people who made contributions and helped get them elected.
The point? Of course they'd recommend we use our tax cuts towards paying increased energy costs. Of course Cheney would make the absolute ridiculous claim that "Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy"  while Bush is running around trying to use eminent domain at the Federal level to put up as many power lines as he can. They're primary supporters are making loads of money! What's even funnier is that we have no shortage of energy  and even the Federal government's own scientists have produced research  at odds with the Bush administration.
It's just something Cheney and Bush are pushing, I'm guessing, because since two oilmen hold the top two positions in the country, they want to do everything they can to give the environmental movement the finger, pay back all their supporters, destroy the environment in as many ways as possible that they previously weren't allowed to, and pave the way for good jobs at energy companies before they are kicked out of office and the Democrats are brought back in to clean things up.
According to a June 2000 article from SJM, prices were spiking as high as $750 per megawatt hour until the ISO board lowered the cap to $500. "Normally, the price of a megawatt hour -- which is enough to power 1, 000 homes for an hour -- ranges between $25 and $40. "
According to an April 14th AP article, "Vice President Dick Cheney took in $36 million, according to income-tax documents released Friday." ... "Most of Cheney's income came when he exercised stock options and sold stock in Halliburton Co., the Dallas-based energy services firm he headed until late in the presidential campaign. The vice president received $4.3 million in deferred compensation and bonuses. He reported $806, 332 in salary and $823, 509 in capital gains." ... "Cheney's tax total put him in the rarified realm of the top 39.6 percent tax bracket, which Bush wants to eventually reduce to 33 percent." ... "Using the small standard deduction of $7, 350, the calculator estimates Cheney's tax cut under the Bush plan at more than $2.3 million, a 16.1 percent cut. "
Source for quote and hideous pro-resource consumption rhetoric.
"'We need more electricity wires carrying product across the country, ' the president said Tuesday night at a speech to the Electronic Industries Alliance in Washington. One of the ways Bush intends to achieve that goal is by asking Congress to pass legislation that substantially expands the government's eminent domain authority."
Forbes says there is no energy crisis and that not even the whole state of California is effected - LA has it's own municipal power service. Oil and Natural Gas reserves are at an all-time high.
"Most of the savings came from installing geothermal heat pumps, an efficient home-heating and cooling system that circulates fluids through underground coils but otherwise uses conventional technologies." ... "The heat pumps, though still something of a novelty, are proven and save so much money that President Bush installed a system at his new ranch home in Crawford, Texas. Cheney's official home, the Naval Observatory in Washington, also uses geothermal heat pumps to cut down on its energy bill." This article has many more reports from Federal scientists showing cost-effective conservation methods.
| I Don't Belive That A Energy Shortage Is Real. I Belive That... ||May 23rd. at 9:57:37 pm EDT|
|Troll (spokane, Washington US) ||Age: 41 |
I don't belive that a energy shortage is real. I belive that the situation in california is local and not nation wide and is being used as a scare tactic
| As A Canadian, I Cannot Comment On George Bush's Internal Environmental Policies... ||May 23rd. at 4:03:27 pm EDT|
|MoonSmile (Toronto, Ontario CA) ||Age: 37 |
As a Canadian, I cannot comment on George Bush's internal environmental policies - except as they affect me. Unfortunately, they do tend to affect me, because I live right next door.
Mr. Bush has stated that he will not stand by the Kyoto Accord - and yet:
1. Canada must clean-up her air quality to his standards
2. Sell her clean water because his standards allow the US water supply to become badly polluted
3. Allow him to set up oil operations on Canadian soil because of free trade
4. I must pay massive natural gas bills - not because of a shortage, but because a Canadian company cannot charge Canadians less money for the gas than they do their American customers through free trade
5. Help my government pay a $70, 000, 000 law suit to a California company that puts a substance into their product that is prohibited in Canada - thus making that product illegal in Canada and going against free trade
My own government, knowing that there is a water crisis caused by agricultural environmental issues, does not make the agricultural mega farms industry hold to the same environmental standards that any corporation must abide by. My own government, knowing that air pollution is rampant, passes a law stating that the provinces must take action to help fix the problem, only to stand back and allow the provinces thumb their noses at the people and the problem by saying that it's just too expensive to bother trying to fix the situation. My own government does not enforce regulations that state that power stations must clean up their acts, pandering instead to corporate whiners who are afraid to spend a few million out of their massively full pockets. My own government won't put in by-laws to get cars off the road (thus lowering both air pollution and use of fossil fuels), rather they approve more mega subdivisions with poorly designed public transit systems.
Apathy toward the environment is rampant all over the world. So very many people see the problem and know that something has to be done, but god forbid that they should be the ones doing something. My house has a flat roof that is just screaming for solar panels. How I would love to put solar panels up there and pull myself off the public energy grids! However, solar panels of the size that I would need to power and heat my house are prohibitively expensive. Wind turbines are an option that could be used all along the shores of Lake Ontario, out in the Prairie provinces, actually all across the country. And yet it doesn't happen.
Why doesn't it happen? Because the Great God Economy says its too expensive, its too difficult, it will take money away from the existing providers, it will take money out of the pockets of people who make unrealisitically huge salaries, blah blah blah blah blah.
Until the people, not only of Canada and the United States, but all over the world, stand up and say a resounding "NO" to the corporate stranglehold on our environment, agreements like the Kyoto Accord will continue to be flouted by the signatories. Until people who live in downtown areas stop using their cars to drive to the office and start using public transit, we will continue to pander to the pocket books of the oil companies. Until the day comes that the people of this world wake up and realize that we must stand together to fix these problems, it is up to the individuals to do everything they can to make things better in their own little corners of our planet.
Of course, that's assuming that those individuals are willing to get off their apathetic lazy butts and actually take action on what they scream about from their armchairs. Unfortunately, to take action means to put oneself out a little.
| In The Pacific Northwes We Are Having A Drought (for Us - It... ||May 23rd. at 12:06:47 pm EDT|
|arielle (Seattle, Washington US) ||Age: 43 - Email |
In the Pacific Northwes we are having a drought (for us - it has still rained more than the rest of you are used to) year. This does effect the amount of snowmelt during the summer to produce hydro-power. At the same time, if we have a hot summer we get more glacier melt (yes the cascade mountains here have glaciers). This will help balance out some of the problem. But the Salmon are already suffering from low rivers. Of course if California wasn't trying to buy power from us we would probably be fine. This is still not an excuse for raised prices or dirty power plants.
| Well Of Course There's An Energy Crisis. Well, Depending On How, Exactly... ||May 23rd. at 10:45:55 am EDT|
|Jill Swift (Santa Fe, New Mexico US) ||Age: 33 - Email |
Well of course there's an energy crisis.
Well, depending on how, exactly, you define that.
If you define it as whatever the government of the U.S. and the energy businesses claim, then there certainly is.
If you define it as an actual shortage - more need than supply - then there is clearly no crisis.
However, if you define it as I do - energy that leaves significant toxic residue, then there's been a crisis for a long time.
Gobs of other posters have already mentioned the need to find clean, renewable energy sources. I am appalled over how little support the alternative energy researchers are getting in this country. I am equally appauled at how slow big business is to adopt the few new energy technologies that have come from what little fruitful research there has been.
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