The InsiderOne Daily Report

  Thursday, May 3, 2001

A Power Plant A Week Keeps The SUVs Running

InsiderOne's Michael Goldberg writes: The solution to our energy problems was right in front of our big, small and medium-size noses — we just didn't see it. Use as much energy as you want. Be wasteful! Run your air conditioner when you're not even home! Buy gas-guzzling SUVs! Yahoo! I don't know if you can quite fathom the simplicity, the pure beauty of the solution. It's true "out of the box" thinking, coming to you from that former (snake) oil-business exec and mega-millionaire, Dick Cheney. He laid it out in a speech at the annual meeting of the Associated Press in Toronto just nine days after Earth Day. I mean, most people, logical-thinking type people, might consider a philosophy of conservation in a time when energy is in short supply and our environment is on, shall we say, shaky ground. Not president Bush's boss Dick, who dismissed the notion that "we could simply conserve or ration our way out" of an energy crisis as 1970s-era thinking. Elaborating, Dick said that "Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy." Right. The way out is to dig in deeper. It's a more-is-less approach. Dick's plan appears to be twofold: I think of it as the Bush-Cheney rape-and-pillage-the-environment strategy. Its components include desecrating the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, relying more on that environmentally friendly energy source, coal, and — you'll gasp with amazement at the big thinking behind this one — building many nuclear power plants. Cheney says we need to deploy one new electricity-generating plant a week for the next 20 years. Let's see now, 52 weeks times 20 years — we're talking construction of over 1000 power plants. Luckily, coming from the oil business, Dick knows some folks who could build and run those plants. Lucky us. "We can safeguard the environment by making greater use of the cleanest methods of power generation we know," Dick said, referring to his beloved nuclear power. "If we are serious about environmental protection, then we must seriously question the wisdom of backing away from what is, as a matter of record, a safe, clean and very plentiful energy source." Exactly. What were those conservationists thinking? Some of those pesky naysayers noted in the aftermath of Dick's lucid speech that he's wrong in thinking that nuclear power is a "safe, clean" energy source. They seem to think that mining uranium and dealing with nuclear waste are hazards — silly them. You really have to sit back and applaud the audacity of Dick's ideas. But can he sell it to an American public that believes that conservation is a good thing? And what about that pesky American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy report that suggests that modest additional fuel efficiency in cars and trucks would be more productive than drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? You really gotta hand it to Dick and George W. First they push through a tax plan for the rich that most Americans now think is a good idea (hey why not? Rich get richer, poor get poorer — it's the way of the world, right?). Now this. Perhaps some of those new nuclear power plants can be built near Dick and George's respective homes, so they'll have a permanent reminder of their gracious public service.

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Michael Goldberg is the president of He founded Addicted To Noise in 1994.

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