Brownouts and Blackouts: Power Crisis in California

By Alan Caruba

There’s a good reason why Clinton administration officials like Energy Secretary Bill Richardson are wringing their hands over the prospect of brownouts and blackouts as demands for more electrical power increase along with the wider use of things like computers. The crisis affecting California could and should have been averted.

As recently as July 21st, Secretary Richardson was urging the development of “alternative energy sources such as biofuels and wind power” according to a UPI news article. Like Gore, Richardson was spouting the need to secure “a meaningful decline in our future reliance on fossil fuels…” This is outrageous nonsense. There are enough known reserves of oil, gas, and coal to last well into the next century. Make that centuries if we can just get at the reserves we know exist and that doesn’t include those yet to be discovered. His apparent solution to a very serious problem is to build hundreds of thousands of windmills. He actually wants at least “five percent of the nation’s energy to be produced by wind power.”

According to Frederick D. Palmer, president of the Greening Earth Society and chief executive officer of Western Fuels Association, “it is incredible that the Clinton administration has just now noticed-after seven-plus years in office-that we have an electricity shortage.” Part of the problem is Vice President Gore’s fixation on carbon dioxide emissions “as the sole criteria for energy policy in the United States.” As a result, the Clinton-Gore administration has done nothing to respond to the rising need for electrical power because it is generated, in large part by coal. So the White House liars have been telling everyone it’s the utility’s fault for not building more capacity at the same time the Environmental Protection Agency is suing major utilities for not installing millions of dollars of more apparatus to further “clean” their emissions.

As Palmer points out, “The problem of electricity supply, at base, is that we are using up the capacity in existing power plants, including those that are coal-fired.” This nation has to begin building new power plants. Lots of them. It hasn’t because those who run the nation’s utilities, when not being sued by the EPA, are reluctant to commit millions knowing the government will harass them every step of the way. If Al Gore is elected no new plants will be built and that is why you better start thinking about installing your own generator in the basement.

In his book, Earth in the Balance, Gore wrote that “higher taxes on fossil fuels” were “one of the logical first steps in changing our policies in a matter consistent with a more responsible approach to the environment.” My friend, Dr. S. Fred Singer, points out that “Gore isn’t as excited as he used to be about this.” A Houston Chronicle article quotes him as saying he no longer supports this. “This isn’t just a flip-flop from 1992; it’s a flip-flop from earlier this year when Gore proudly claimed to stand by everything in his book,” notes Dr. Singer. Now Gore is going around saying “I have made it clear in this campaign that I am not calling for any tax increase on gasoline, on oil, on natural gas, or anything else.” And some people want to vote for this contemptible liar and hypocrite.

The Greens hate the notion that people are using power for just about any reason. It “pollutes” according to their warped ideology. The Pew Research Center for People and the Press says 79% of Americans have cable or satellite television; 59% have home computers; 16% have DVD players. Add in all the rest who have radios, refrigerators, electric can openers, lights and other useful devices, and you have a totally wired American utterly dependent on electricity.

In April of this year, the Western Fuels Association filed suit in Wyoming federal district court against the Turning Point Project, Friends of the Earth, Earth Island Institute, Ozone Action, Rainforest Action Network, and the International Center for Technology Assessment, charging them with “commercial defamation” under Section 43 of the Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. ~1125). The Association says its advocacy and coal supply business are both damaged the Turning Point Project’s publication of a full-page advertisement in The New York Times and materials on its website that advocates the elimination of coal use in electricity generation!

On December 13, 1999, an ad estimated to have cost $97,000 pictured a mosquito under the headline “Global Warming-how will it end?” Western Fuels Association’s complaint is that the ad makes false and misleading factual representations regarding the effects of carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, specifically coal, and an alleged human-induced overheating of the earth’s atmosphere. Remember, too, that President Clinton, using the Antiquities Act, has put one of this nation’s richest, untapped supplies of high-grade coal off limits to use when he created the Escalante Staircase National Park in Utah.

At some point, this case will go to trial and then the defendants will have to conclusively prove that there is any global warming. They will have to prove that coal-based generation of electricity is a danger to the environment. What are the odds of that? Zero! Then maybe this cabal of radical Green organizations will experience a blackout of their own?

Alan Caruba, a veteran science and business writer is a consultant to the American Policy Center, as well as founder of The National Anxiety Center, a clearinghouse for information about scare campaigns (  This is an excerpt from his weekly commentary, Warning Signs.

Tom DeWeese
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Tom DeWeese is President of the American Policy Center and National Grassroots Coordinator for CFACT (Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow) working to help local activists organize into Freedom Pods ( He is also the author of three books, including Now Tell Me I Was Wrong, ERASE, and Sustainable: the WAR on Free Enterprise, Private Property, and Individuals.