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Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
North County Times
April 17, 2001


O.K. class for the last time; environmentalists are not the cause of California's manufactured energy crisis. Claims that those concerned with protecting the environmental integrity of the golden state are responsible for rolling black outs and skyrocketing utility bills should be seen for what they are, groundless accusations meant to divert attention from those really responsible for the predicament Californians now find themselves in.

For those of you who haven't noticed California has yet to elect any environmentalists to state or federal office. Where it might be true environmentalists have successfully defended hard fought regulations put in place thirty years ago, by a republican administration. Those that would protect the planet have hardly been calling the shots. To say that pressure from environmentalists have prevented the construction of new power generating facilities in the last decade are only partially true.

Yes, environmentalists have helped prevent the building of pollution producing facilities that rely on fossil fuels and antiquated technologies; this is a good thing. Environmentalists have also prevented the construction of potentially disastrous nuclear power plants because of the short-term risk and long term liability associated with them. This too is a good thing. And regardless of what the greed-mongers say future generations will thank us.

It is important to note that the current "crisis" did not rear it's ugly head until after the Republicans and Democrats in Sacramento deregulated the utilities. Thereby sitting the stage for George W. and his cronies in Austin to have their way with the hardworking people of this once prosperous state. Environmentalists had nothing to do with subjecting energy prices to the open market. Let's face it, the people who created the crisis that are blaming those who have been shut out of the process. It's a shame smoke and mirrors won't keep the lights on at night. It that were the case the glow emanating from California could be seen from Jupiter.

As to the charge that environmentalists have prevented the building of energy generation facilities I would counter with when was the last time an elected official called for a comprehensive effort to incorporate solar technologies into the fabric of California life? And when was the last time those same politicians asked the wind turbines be required on every building constructed in the state? Every environmentalist recognizes that there are clean ways to generate electricity. They also recognize that a commitment to sustainable and renewable energy sources does not hold the same profit margins those that would kill the planet for short term profit.

Environmentalists are guilty only of forcing restraint on corporate entities the pillage and plunder the biological and geological elements that contribute to the delicate balance that is our environment. The endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, the clean Air Act and other federal and sate mandates are the only thing protecting San Diego from blending flawlessly with Tijuana. Instead of blaming environmentalists for the energy crisis, Californians should be voting them into office to fix the problem.

Until Californian's wake up and smell the corruption we will be fed on a steady diet of pro industry propaganda aimed at keeping residents in the dark and the profits flowing out of state. It is going to be a long, hot summer.

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