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For the week of April 4 through April 10, 2001

Bush’s shameless bamboozle

As he peppers speeches with cries of "energy crisis," President Bush behaves like Chicken Little, the comic barnyard creature who, after being hit by a rock, scurried around hysterically screaming, "The sky is falling!"

But unlike the sappy Chicken Little, Bush knows what he’s doing.

The president is shamelessly bamboozling Americans into believing environmental protections should be ditched to allow drilling pell mell for oil and gas wherever it’s found, while using the air as a dumping ground for industrial filth.

The cackles you hear come from loot-and-pollute schemers who paid handsomely with campaign contributions to elect President Bush to turn back the environmental clock.

Take California’s purported electricity shortfall.

The problem is generation output, not lack of fuel. Dear to the heart of Republican conservatives, California deregulated its electric utilities, whose executives thereupon failed to keep up with soaring consumer demand, but also seem to be creating shortfalls with suspect plant closings.

Consider this statistic: As of noon, last Saturday, March 31, the California Independent System Operator – manager of California’s electricity grid – reported on its web site ( that 119 of the state’s generators were down or partially down and not producing, which deprived consumers of 13,991 megawatts of power

Of the total lost power, 56 percent was due to "forced" shutdown of plants, 45 percent due to "planned" shutdowns.

On the previous day, shutdowns took 12,250 megawatts off line. On Thursday, 13,084 megawatts, and 11,959 on Wednesday. And on and on.

So, no fuel shortage there, as Bush would have us believe.

After holding California hostage with shortages, the utility bosses finally wangled a huge rate increase, ostensibly for new plants.

For those who doubt Bush’s motives in manipulating the electricity shortfall into an "energy crisis," consider his broken promise to enforce carbon dioxide controls, a vow that Environmental Protection Agency administrator Christine Whitman thought was so golden she assured doubters that Bush’s word was good.

How wrong ¾ and humiliated! ¾ she was when Bush abandoned his promise just days later.

If doubters still are unmoved, his declaration that he won’t go along with the Kyoto Treaty for a global air cleanup should be persuasive.

The Kyoto pact is flawed, Bush says lamely. But his tax cut plan is painfully flawed, too, as are his faith-based welfare and missile defense proposals. But he pursues them with clenched-teeth vengeance.

The president finally `fessed up, unwittingly: he told reporters he wouldn’t allow the economy to be hurt by air quality rules.

Translation: He won’t saddle cronies in oil and gas industries with regulations that curtail their willy-nilly dumping of toxics into the air and ground.

After all, a few million dollars saved here and there on environmental controls and paperwork means bonuses for CEOs, but misery for Planet Earth and its creatures.



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Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc. All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited.