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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.
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| 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.
| It Has Been Obvious Since The First Gas Shortage That The Oil... ||May 23rd. at 8:23:31 am EDT|
|Victor Partaker (south lake tahoe, California US) ||Age: 57 - Email |
It has been obvious since the first gas shortage that the oil companies have used manipulation of the supplies of oil and gas so as to push Americans into paying more for energy and fuel. But if you look their profits are up some 60+% so if there is a shortage where is the profit coming from. But as long as Washington politicians get paid off to not help us and we look the other way and let thme we will be gouged at the pump and thru our utility bills. But the only way we can fight back is buy less. Turn off the air conditioner we survive a long time without it. Watch the stars, listen to the wind, sit by a lake and turn off TV. Far to many Americans sit in the stuffy house when its beautiful outside. I am on this computer at 5 am so I can spend the best part of the day walking thru the woods and appreciating nature. But for those who want all their appliances and do watch TV and want to cool the inside of the house all we can do it vote out any politicians that we know are voting against what we want. Blessed Be
| Mm! This Is Whitefeather, And I Don't Belive For A Minute That... ||May 22nd. at 10:23:54 pm EDT|
|Whitefeather (SSMarie, , Ontario CA) ||Age: 16 - Email |
MM! This is Whitefeather, and I don't belive for a minute that there is an energy crisis in Canada or the United States. We have natural resources, solar power, electricity, hydro power, wind power...the list goes on! If we could just find a way to get it into the mainstream, we wouldn't have this so-called "energy crisis." I would certainly use alternative energy sources, and conserve everything I can. (I've been called an Eco-Witch) :) Blessed Be! WF
| As A Pagan, As A Witch, I Take Heart In My Religion's... ||May 22nd. at 5:03:18 pm EDT|
|John (New Naumkeag) ||Age: 34 - Email |
As a Pagan, as a Witch, I take heart in my religion's stress upon Balance. Goddess and God; Lord and Lady; by whatever other Names, it is Balance É and it is Balance that I as a Witch have a religious duty to seek and to live.
And so when I look at this so-called energy "crisis", I think we Americans need to take a breath and become balanced by first looking at the big picture. On this Earth, we have to live and to make a living. Also, we have to preserve this Earth both for our human race and as a moral duty. Human beings are part of Nature, but we are also caretakers of Nature. It is thus not a question of "greed" or "green"; it is a question of responsibility.
So: We have rolling blackouts and rising gas prices.
That is an energy shortage, not an energy crisis. An energy crisis would result if we continue to live with wasteful energy use and foolish reliance upon polluting, non-renewable energy sources É such as fossil fuels or the madness of nuclear fission.
To solve the present energy *shortage*, it seems to me that the only practical solution (politically and economically) is to build some more fossil fuel power plants. (And, yes, I would be happy with such a plant nearby ... in fact, a new one will be built soon in the small town where IŐm writing this, and we need it.)
But, to prevent an energy *crisis*, it seems to me that the only solution is to change over from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. Fossil fuels are nonrenewable (they will run out one day); they are polluting; and relying upon them puts our national security at risk since the primary fossil fuel ĐoilŃcomes from politically unstable parts of the world. Renewable energy sources --solar, wind, and alcohol (ethanol, methanol)-- are clean, perpetual, cheap (once the change-over is made) and they come from right here.
To make that happen --to prevent an energy *crisis*-- requires working through the *realities* of the politics of democracy. Needs of now need to be solved now; everyone needs to get a cut of The Money; and "you catch more flies with honey than vinegar." So, letŐs build some more fossil fuel plants now to solve the energy needs of now; lets make sure everyone gets a tax cut or some other chance at making money with a change-over to renewable energy; and letŐs as a body politic remain civil while forcefully making the argument, namely .........
....... Either we change forms of energy (sooner or later) to renewable, clean sources or we shall have not just an energy crisis but also problems --serious problems-- such as no more advanced civilization, no more habitable Earth, and an angry Lord and Lady wanting to know why.
Tuesday, 22 May 2001
New Naumkeag, USA
| I Think The Only Energy Crisis That Exists Is Our Nation's Insatiable... ||May 22nd. at 1:23:53 pm EDT|
|Nelli (Carmel Valley, California US) ||Age: 24 - Email |
I think the only energy crisis that exists is our nation's insatiable greed for more power, and our complete refusal to acknowledge and explore renewable energy sources. George Bush is so obviously pandering to the oil/energy industry, I can't imagine that anyone could still believe he might be operating in the best interests of this country as a whole. I imagine that we are running out of gas/coal/oil resources - after all, we've known for some time that those energy sources are FINITE!!!!! Argh! Sorry, but the fact that this is still up for debate with our politicians, and is still ignored by the general public, REALLY frustrates me. But the fact that we are running out of non-renewable resources is only a crisis for those companies and countries who depend on them utterly for profit.
What I'd like to see on the corner of my street is a big solar plant. I spent a week in the California desert not too long ago, and you know, I didn't see one single house with solar paneling, let alone a solar power plant. Southern California is always bragging about how they have sun and balmy temperatures 90% of the time (which is true) - they should be getting 90% of their energy from the sun! Same with anywhere else that the sun shines more oftten then not! And where it's windy, there should be turbines. Instead of offshore oil rigs, how about offshore turbine rigs? They'd still look a little unsightly, but they don't pollute, and the resource they're harvesting (wind) is constant and inexhausable. Waves also generate a huge amount of energy - surely there is a way to harvest it! People are so attached to the status quo, and cars that can go 110 mph instead of just 70 or 80, and any and all other amentities that polluting resources give us, that they won't even consider supporting alterative energy legislation, or a candidate that puts such forward as his primary running platform. And the oil/coal/pharmecutical/cigarette companies surely aren't going to invest in something that is cheap, renewable and beneficial to the planet - the cheaper and better it is for us, the less money they make.
But This little community we have here is a community that cares deeply about the planet, and I am a firm believer in acting locally to produce global change. The best thing that we can do about this environmental crisis is to live by example. Put flourescent bulbs in all your sockets. Line dry clothes in the summer. Buy more efficient appliances. They next time you get a new car, buy a hybrid or an electric vehicle, or at least a vehicle with a SULEV (Super-Ultra-Low-Emissions-Vehicle) rating. And if you have enough capital, invest in solar power. Go to www.realgoods.com to learn all about solar power. For those of you in California, Real Goods offers comprehensive workshops, and they have a Solar Living Center in Hopland, CA that models all kinds of solar technology. In their catalog, they sell books on solar living, all the tools, materials and parts for installing solar panels, and they have a ton of other neat stuff too.
I often feel that because I don't yet own my own house (and so cannot use solar technology), and because I still drive a conventional car, that I am not doing enough. If you find yourself in that place, don't feel bad. We do what we can! Go to www.workingforchange.com for a variety of less expensive (but no less important) ways to contribute to the environmental and social sanity of the planet.
| The Energy Crisis Is Only A Crisis If You Own An Oil... ||May 22nd. at 10:14:23 am EDT|
|Lhiannon (Cedar Park, Texas US) ||Age: 28 |
The energy crisis is only a crisis if you own an oil well, or happen to be Mother Earth.
California's energy "crisis" was brought about not by a shortage of energy but by a poorly implemented deregulation of the energy industry which placed too high a burden on previously regulated businesses, expecting them to financially survive on a plan that made no financial sense even to a layman.
There is no serious shortage of energy in California - there is a shortage of cash to pay for the energy pumped in from out of state at insane prices that just kept getting higher, and no time to build power plants to keep from getting screwed by the out of state companies greed. That's a lot different than every oil well running dry or an actual lack of energy.
I can't afford a Porche, but I'm not having a Porche crisis. Homeless people sometimes can't afford a meal, but I don't see the Republicans running around and talking about the food crisis - the lines are being blurred between what is an actual crisis and what is poor fiscal planning for a political agenda.
According to the Bushies, it would seem that suddenly whatever is out there that is plentiful but that we can't buy is now considered a crisis.
The unfortunate thing is that one of the most enviornmentally conscious states may have provided a perfect chance for the Bush/Cheney one-two punch, which calls for raping the earth for even more of her resources while killing off those resources that the Republicans can't exploit. Pointing to California as a reason for exploiting and drilling in Alaska is an unbelievable red herring. They wanted to drill before the energy "crisis" ever manifested, and are using this as an excuse, hoping that US citizens won't know the difference between a governmental screw up and an energy crisis.
"Would YOU like to see a power plant on the corner of your street if it meant lower energy prices?"
Sure, if it's solar.
"Do you think that some places such as federal parks and wilderness areas should be off-limits to energy exploration or exploitation?"
Considering the reasoning beahind making these lands federal parks and protected wilderness areas, absolutely. What, we protected it from others' exploitation until we decided to exploit it? Is there logic here somewhere that I'm missing?
"Would YOU pay higher energy costs to help preserve these places?"
Keep my tax cut, go feed a caribou. Absolutely.
"Do you-or would you be willing- to conserve energy or use alternative forms if they were accessible and affordable?"
How long has solar power been around? And when will panels become standard on new homes? Computer chip costs have sunk like a stone, are you telling me that in the same span of time we couldn't have made the same strides in making budget solar panels?
"Just whose 'energy crisis' IS this anyway?"
Alaska's, since they seem to be made the focus by politicians more than California as of late.
George Bush couldn't find oil when he was here in Texas, nearly bankrupting his "company" Arbusto and earning it the nickname of "El Busto". Alternative energy is the long terms solution, raping the Earth is the short term. Family values that ignore the health of our grandchildren are hypocritical family values at best. George W. Bush has no vision, and his views make us, as a nation, parasitic to the very earth that nourishes us.
It's time to trade the missles for solar panels, and for politicians to start looking beyond 2 four year terms.
| An Energy Crisis Exists If, And Only If, You Are A Major... ||May 22nd. at 9:22:33 am EDT|
|Dovid Zuk (Amherst, Massachusetts US) ||Age: 29 - Email |
An energy crisis exists if, and only if, you are a major player in the current energy set up. The pronouncement by Vice President Cheney made it perfectly clear. If a real energy crises were to exist the US Government would be looking for new, not alternative, forms of energy, such as changing existing power plants to solar and wind operated, tapping into the supply of methane gas produced by our landfills, and other areas which produce no real profit for corporations. The only crises is that these corporations don't have enough income to satisfy their greed. Energy is plentiful. We have many ways to tap into its sources yet we keep hearing the need to develope limited forms and exploit the earth, eventualy (chaos and peace) destroying our home.
President Bush has made it very clear: cost is what counts; if it costs too much for the companies then when won't be doing it.
The energy crises does exist only because companies and corporations and our leaders who they fund are working very hard to make sure it exists.
| We Are In Some Form Of Energy Crisis, Whether We Like It... ||May 22nd. at 2:05:54 am EDT|
|Gray (bay area, California US) ||Age: 20 |
We are in some form of energy crisis, whether we like it or not. I think it's time people stopped acting like our supplies of oil and natural gas will never run out, because it's becoming painfully obvious that they will.
The governmetn should seriously look into investing money into alternative sources of engery. I'm not just refering to solar and wind power, I'm talking about things like fuel cells for cars, things that are viable pieces of technology, that simply need a little finacial boost to make it onto the shelves of the vast comsumer market. Obviously, we can't make an overnight conversion in energy sources, but we can start moving in a new, less big oil funded direction.
First, the president and congress should up the fuel efficency standards for SUV's. They guzzle gas like crazy, and paying $50+ dollars to fill your gas tank in absurd.
Next, instead of drilling for more oil, invest in other types of enegery resources. You never know, with a little bit of money, this itmes culd reach us (at affordable prices)within a few years!
Lastly, even though it can be a hassle, everyone should to their part, to conserve what they can. There's no need to be an energy saving zealot, but, turing off things that you don't use during the day can make a difference not only on the grid, but on your power bill as well.
If the nation works as a whole to improve how we, as a country, handle our energy, there may be a light at the end of the energy tunnel.
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