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  • jclem412@aol.com
    Molly Ivins is a columist for the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram. Her column appeared in the Peninsula Daily News (Washington State) Friday, May 4, 2001.
    Message 1 of 1 , May 5, 2001
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      Molly Ivins is a columist for the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram. Her
      column appeared in the Peninsula Daily News (Washington State) Friday, May 4,

      Back-to back speeches by the Veeper and the only president we've got beggar
      the imagination.

      Let's have a new rule: If you pronounce the word "nukular", you shoudn't go
      around nullifying nuclear treaties. Or building nuclear power plants. I
      don't know if a National Missle Defense system will work, and neither do you.
      Most experts not employed by the defense industry are dubious about it at
      best, but you never know how far we could get if we spend enough time and
      money on it. If we spend the first $60 billion, we'll probably be a lot
      further along than we are now, thus justifying the next $60 billion.

      The problem is, it's massively stupid in terms of national security. What's
      a bigger threat to the United States: North Korea or global warming? Our
      children will live to see the answer to that. It's their future we're
      playing with. Hearing Dick Cheney make a speech that was outdated by the
      standards of the oil industry in the 1960's was eerie. Reactionary Texas
      oilmen are thick on the ground here, but Cheney is a throwback.

      Cheney's National Energy Policy Development Group - two Texas oilmen, a CEO
      from the electricity-gobbling aluminum industry and a tool of the energy
      companies, all members of the Cabinet, meeting in secret - is pushing coal,
      and hard. Unfortunately, it is the dirtiest source of electricity
      generation. The administration not only has reneged on its promise to curb
      coal pollution, but now it proposes to ease the pollution controls already in
      place. Naturally, the group is also pushing oil and gas - major contributors
      to global warming - and, incredibly enough, de-emphasizing conservation.

      What kind of energy policy would abandon conservation, which is effective and
      cost nothing? OPEC is the only hurt by it. Under the Bush budget plan,
      renewable energy programs lose 36 percent of their piddly total funding of
      the $373 million, according to New Technology Week.

      Wind-generated electricity is already cheaper than nuclear-generated
      electricity. It's highly probable that solar-powered photo-voltaic systems
      will also be cheaper before long: The city of San Francisco votes this fall
      on whether to back a $250 million bond issue for solar power.

      One easy and simple way to bring down the price of gasoline is by letting
      fuel-efficiency standards rise to where they already would be if the auto
      companies had not interfered via generous contributions to Congress. Some
      remarkable reporting by Jeff Plungis of the Detroit News reveals the auto
      companies have now wired the study being conducted by the National Academy of
      Sciences on fuel efficiency. Nine of the 13 panel members have ties either
      to the auto or oil industries; are free-market economists who do not believe
      in government regulation; or have criticized fuel-efficiency standards in a
      very public way.

      Meanwhile, back in the world, fuel efficiency is at a 20-year low, mainly due
      to the popularity of SUVs. Congress first passed fuel-efficiency standards
      in 1975, when the average car got less than 14 miles per gallon. By 1985,
      under the required standards, that doubled to 27.5 mpg. It has since slipped
      to 24 mpg. Plungis reports that automakers have shifted virtually all their
      technological gains into bigger and more powerful engines, rather than
      improving fuel efficiency. Half the new cars sold are now SUVs. It is
      neither difficult or onerous to improve their mileage: It would cost about
      $700 additional per vehicle, but with a fuel saving of about $2,500 over the
      life of the behemoth.

      Speaking of campaign contributions, Time magazine reports Cheney's aides
      consulted with the West Virginia coal baron Buck Harless, a Bush pioneer (at
      least $100,000); Stephen Addington of AEI Resources, whose executives gave
      more than $600,000 to Republicans last election; and of course, our old
      favorites Peabody Energy - the biggest coal miner in the country - whose
      chairman gave over $250,000.

      Could this payout possibly be more obvious? //

      (article transcribed by Diane Clemens)
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