Public Policy Research Education and Advocacy
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: David Hughes
May 15, 2001 412/421-6072
PITTSBURGH, May 15—The Bush Administration energy plan is full of recommen-dations that, if enacted, will perpetuate and worsen our energy problems, according to David Hughes, Executive Director of the watchdog group Citizen Power.
“The administration’s long range plan is all about enabling the price gougers and abusing the environment at a time when renewable energy sources and efficiency technologies are ready to solve our problems,” said Hughes. “Short term it does nothing about today’s problems.”
Simply requiring a 3-mpg increase in the Corporate Automobile Fuel Economy standard would save more oil than the total reserves estimated to be held in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. “This is a Neanderthal plan that recommends increased funding for polluting and dangerous energy sources and proposes only to study the need for increased funding of clean and safe energy sources,” Hughes said.
For example, the plan calls for $2 billion for research and development of “clean” coal technologies and only $39.2 million for R&D for renewable energy. “That about says it all,” Hughes continued.
Citizen Power is particularly alarmed at the plan’s recommendation for a rebirth of nuclear power. Besides the impossibility of safely storing highly radioactive waste, nuclear power also contributes to global warming through the fuel development process. In addition, recent studies have shown that adverse health impacts are caused by the routine venting of radioactive gases at nuclear plants.
The plan ignores problems like what is taking place in California. Bush could dramatically improve the situation in California by ordering his Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to institute “cost plus ratemaking”, putting an end to unfair pricing. The plan calls for more deregulation, the main culprit in this whole energy “crisis”. “When you use that free market rhetoric to cover your real agenda, its no surprise that the plan is void of those remedies that will benefit ratepayers,” Hughes continued.
The recommendation to repeal the Public Utility Holding Company Act is a perfect example of wrongheaded policy. Price gouging is made possible by the formation of unregulated utility holding companies. “Repealing the one law that attempts to prevent too much market power is the exact opposite of what the government should be doing,” Hughes said.
“Americans better wake up. Electricity deregulation is simply a plan to remove public control over the availability and cost of a vital necessity. The Bush/Cheney plan is little more than a plan for faster removal of these ratepayer and environmental protections,” concluded Hughes.