- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 26, 2001

Dude, the power is out

I cannot fathom how whiny Gov. Gray Davis of California can place the blame for his states energy woes at President Bushs feet ("Bush urges end to 'rancor in pushing energy plan," May 20). Mr. Davis is certainly lacking economics training if he believes price controls on wholesale electric power will generate a single extra watt for California.

Liberals have accused energy companies of price-gouging for years. Yet, in each and every case, nothing more sinister was at work than the laws of supply and demand, oftentimes exacerbated by well-meaning but price-boosting government intervention.

What these pointy-headed liberals fail to realize is that price caps only create shortages and that if the energy they seek is no longer available, setting the price caps lower won´t do any good.

To solve America´s energy problems, we must work on the other side of the supply-demand curve and increase energy supplies domestically. This is the 21st century; oil and gas wells can be drilled and pumped without worry of ecological disaster.


ROBERT C. GOTSHALL JR.

Palm Bay, Fla.




California Gov. Gray Davis, attempting to find scapegoats for his state´s lack of foresight, has said, "We are literally in a war with energy companies who are price-gouging us; many of those companies are in Texas" President George W. Bush´s Texas, that is. Not coincidentally, Mr. Davis has been touted as a potential opponent for Mr. Bush in 2004.

Instead of criticizing Texas, California should have been following its lead. The tale of California and Texas is like the tale of the grasshopper and the ant: One prepared for its future while the other fiddled away.

California has not built a new power plant in 20 years. To this day, the state does not have a single coal-burning plant on its soil. There is a state moratorium on nuclear power, and no new drilling for oil or gas is allowed off the California coast.

California sloughed responsibility for developing power-generating facilities and is paying for its not-in-my-back-yard attitude. Between 1995 and 2000, Texas added more than 5,700 megawatts of capacity. California added 672. (One megawatt powers about 1,000 homes on a hot summer day.)

In addition, Texas has an excess capacity for electricity production of 11,000 megawatts, nearly enough to power New York City, and by next summer, the excess may be closer to 15,000 megawatts enough to power 15 million homes. Texas has 27 generating plants under construction more than any other state. Since 1998, $11 billion worth of power plants have been completed or started in Texas.

Our technology-based economy is going to need more power, not less, and it won´t come from windmills. It has been estimated that 13 percent of U.S. power output is used to manufacture and run computers and our sprawling information-technology infrastructure. Electricity consumption has grown 60 percent in the past two decades. It will grow more.

California´s energy crisis is a self-inflicted wound; environmentalism´s chickens have come home to roost. Texans know that if you want milk, you need cows. If you want electricity, you need power plants. As Californians might say, "duh."


DANIEL JOHN SOBIESKI

Chicago

Glendening is stalking gun ownership

"Gun safety" can mean many things, depending on whom you talk to ("Gun safety curriculum vetoed by Glendening," May 18). For those interested in the safe use of firearms, gun safety means the responsible handling of firearms: keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, keeping your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot, knowing your backstop and many other common-sense rules. For Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening, gun safety means nothing less than the absence of firearms. His reasoning is that you cant hurt yourself or someone else with a gun if you dont have one. However, if we were to apply that logic to automobiles, we all would be walking right now.

Though Mr. Glendening knows firearms are part of our country´s heritage, he is afraid that, given the chance to handle them, our young people will understand this and reject the left´s attempts to clamp down on our freedoms.

Mr. Glendening stated that "turning over to an organization such as the NRA is not an appropriate response to the issue of gun safety and education." His contempt for the National Rifle Association is palpable. Yet the NRA is not the enemy when it comes to firearms safety. In truth, it is the world´s premier firearms-safety training organization.

Mr. Glendening and his teachers union have made it very clear that they don´t trust the American people, young or old. Delegate Carmen Amedori is correct in stating, "He isn´t interested in gun safety. He´s just interested in taking guns away."


ROBERT E. BRAND

Gaithersburg

Russia should not checkmate new NATO members

At the May 11 Bratislava conference on NATO expansion, Czech President Vaclav Havel presented a strong rebuttal to Russian objections to the admission of states that once were part of the Soviet Union. This position reflects the views of those who support the rule of law and democratic government in Central and Eastern Europe. Russia needs to come to grips with the limits of its domain and the simple fact that the NATO alliance will bring increased stability, security and democracy to an area that is on Russias doorstep.

The American Friends of the Czech Republic were strong supporters of the admission of the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary into NATO in 1999. We similarly support the entrance of Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia into NATO because they have proved that their reform efforts are firmly in place, and we believe they should be approved for admission. As for nations in the southern tier of Central Europe, they also should be admitted as soon as they meet the strict requirements of NATO partnership.

To give in to Russia´s unwarranted concerns on this issue is to travel a road to future instability and chaos in a region that is just now emerging after 50 years of Soviet threats and intimidation. We urge our policy-makers to listen to Mr. Havel on this vital issue, which concerns our national interests.


MILTON CERNY

President

American Friends of the Czech Republic

Washington

Rep. Moran disappoints on marina

I was dismayed with Virginia Democratic Rep. James P. Morans performance at the May 21 meeting to discuss the future of Belle Haven Marina. More than 700 concerned constituents showed up at Carl Sandburg School on Monday night to express their support for maintaining a marina at Dyke Marsh, where there has been one for more than 40 years. The National Park Service (NPS) wishes to get rid of it. It claims that it has not made any final decisions, but its bias against motorboat slips and storage at Belle Haven has been apparent to everyone throughout this process.

The NPS position does not come as a complete surprise. It has tried to ban motorized sports from many of its parks and facilities around the country. But I was dumbfounded to hear Mr. Moran argue the NPS´s position for one solid hour. Instead of listening to the concerns of the voters in the audience, many of whom wished to speak but were ignored, he repeatedly mouthed the Park Service line, defended its positions, and deferred to Parkway Superintendent Audrey Calhoun. I have nothing against the Park Service, and I do not really expect a federal bureaucracy with nationwide responsibilities to care much about my local marina. I do, however, expect my local representative to side with the families in his district when they do battle with a federal bureaucracy.

Mr. Moran would like us to think that this is not a battle and that he has supported us by cutting a (verbal) deal with the Park Service that allows the marina to operate past the stated cutoff of Dec. 31, (how long was not specified). But, in doing so, he caved on the Park Service´s refusal to commit to continued motorboat slips and storage. He also caved on the Park Service´s continued refusal to issue an Request-for-Proposal for operating the marina so the private sector can prove its continued feasibility.

For an experienced and much-liked politician, Mr. Moran seems either surprisingly naive or surprisingly callous to the fact that a National Park Service unfriendly to this marina currently holds all the cards for determining the future of a recreational facility highly valued by the people of his district.


Thomas J. Callahan

Alexandria


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