- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 22, 2001

We have plenty of energy, folks, we are just not using it correctly. Conservation is the answer to our problems, or so the Democrats would have us believe. While the administration feels we need up to 1,300 new power plants — and the quicker, the better — the liberals are advocating more use of the 60-watt light bulb. There's no doubt we need to conserve, but conservation will never provide us with enough energy for the increase in demand over the next decade. We have let the greenies and environmentalists win the first round.

We haven't been building refineries, we haven't been building power plants, and we haven't been drilling for natural gas and oil where we know we have it in abundance. Now that someone wants to do something about it, the greenies are up in arms. Can you imagine how long it would take the entire nation to implement enough conservation measures to make a dent in our current energy problem? Are you going to replace your furnace with a heat pump? I don't think so. You can't burn seals and reindeer. We need to drill.

One laboratory has developed a new table lamp that gives off light equivalent to a 300-watt halogen bulb and uses a quarter of the energy now required. They say it could eliminate the need for overhead lighting. Right. Where we now have 100 fluorescent lights, we would end up with a new energy-saving lamp on each desk for a total of 400 lamps that light the desk but not the room. Add in the energy expended in manufacturing these lamps, and the conservation payback would occur sometime in the middle of the century.

One energy study pointed out that the federal government is the largest energy user in the country with 500,000 buildings. By investing $5.2 billion in conservation, the government could reduce their energy costs by $1 billion a year. I believe this study is more in line with true conservation in that the control of government growth and waste should come first. We might consider downsizing whatever building the EPA occupies. It brings up the question: If there was no EPA, would there be an energy crisis?

Conservation is necessary, but it will take time. To reduce pollution we have forced the price of gasoline through the roof. Have you noticed any reduction in traffic? SUVs are selling like hot cakes, but to listen to the liberals you would think my gas guzzler is responsible for global warming. Scientists now tell us that humans account for only 5 percent of greenhouse gases, and that ocean currents have more to do with the warming problem than anything on the road. Have we been suckers?

Conservation is a great idea, but the people in California probably don't want to wait 10 years to see the benefit. We need energy now. The Bush administration is trying to make that happen. Notice that Al Gore, that great conservation-environmental zealot California backed in the last election, hasn't had much to say about their predicament. Perhaps he may want to return to tell his backers they are energy hogs and need to conserve, or maybe they are beginning to see the light.

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