Significant shifting of federal support to renewable energy would make the United States less reliant on fluctuating fossil energy markets, according to a national interest group.
WASHINGTON, DC, US, 2001-05-09 <SolarAccess.com> “Americans are too reliant on unsustainable sources of energy controlled by corporations that have manipulated markets to generate enormous profits,” says Anna Aurilio of U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). The energy plan to be released this month by President George Bush will “exploit public concerns about rolling blackouts and high prices at the gasoline pump, but does nothing to actually provide consumers relief from these problems.” “President Bush’s plan is dirty, dangerous and doesn’t deliver for consumers,” she adds. “It will, in fact, reward power companies that have created the problems. It may even increase costs to consumers by promoting expensive nuclear power.” She predicts that the plan will not provide relief for Californians or consumers in other states with large unregulated power generators, nor will the plan provide relief to consumers from rising gasoline prices and relies on “long-term destructive policies” such as drilling in sensitive Arctic regions and will increase air pollution by subsidizing new coal plants that will take years to build. “The Bush plan will virtually ignore energy efficiency – the cleanest, cheapest, quickest way to save consumers money, reduce pollution and insure against blackouts,” she adds. “His plan will not result in significant shifting to clean, renewable energy production which will make us less reliant on fluctuating fossil energy markets.” California utilities spent $53 million to obtain deregulation which included $20 billion in bailouts for nuclear power plants and other costs, she claims. The state has charged that several companies manipulated the electricity market to reap $5.5 billion in revenue during the past year. Media reports say that some companies have reported huge earnings increases, but Bush refuses to support wholesale price caps. “By giving only lip service to energy efficiency and renewable energy, the President is denying consumers a plan that would reduce dependence on profiteering power generators,” she adds. “The only way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil is to reduce our dependence on oil,” she explains. Increased fuel efficency standards for cars will reduce dependence on imports and save consumers $60 billion at the pump, but she notes that Vice President Cheney has said his task force will not raise these standards. “Nuclear power would not exist today were it not for massive taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies,” she explains. “Studies have documented that consumers served by nuclear utilities paid much higher electric rates because of nuclear power plants.” “We’re very disappointed that President Bush is perpetuating an oil and power company scam instead of coming up with a real plan,” she concludes. “We urge members of Congress to support a smarter, cleaner energy future and reject the Bush plan.” U.S. PIRG is the national lobbying office for the State Public Interest Research Groups. State PIRGs are non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy groups.