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Week of: June 17, 2001

California Shortage, Texas Surplus

by F.R. Duplantier

"When this nation deregulates energy production and distribution, we will have more energy. Texas is proof of that."

Californians who once liked to boast
Of the absence of rigs off their coast
Are suddenly thrilling
To the prospect of drilling
If it means they can always make toast.

"The politicians and regulatory bureaucrats of California ignored its growing need for electrical energy, refusing time and again for two decades to permit the building of new plants for the generation of electricity and the transmission lines required to distribute it," asserts business and science writer Alan Caruba in a recent installment of Warning Signs, his weekly internet commentary at "Now these same politicians have the nerve to claim the utilities were 'gouging' their customers for electricity they were forced to buy on the spot market."

According to Caruba, "Everything that occurred to the energy producers was the direct result of the legislation passed by California's politicians, all pandering to the environmentalists demanding 'alternative sources' and other proposals that totally denied the most basic law of supply and demand. This," he contends, "is why Californians are now paying the highest rates in the history of that state."

Caruba considers "how another state dealt with its need for electrical energy. Texas, the home state of George W. Bush, has an oversupply," he reports. "The reason for this," Caruba contends, "is that Texas chose not to overregulate, making it a very good place for providers of electricity to do business. It is expected that by 2002 Texas' surplus could exceed 15,000 megawatts. This estimate," he emphasizes, "is based on the fact that there are 27 new generating stations currently under construction!"

Caruba warns that "the Greens and the politicians who pander to them [in California] are letting it be known that they intend to seize the assets of privately owned utility companies. Who would want to invest there?" he asks. "As for those people already invested in California energy companies, they can kiss their retirement and other plans goodbye!"

Caruba says the Bush Administration is "doing the right thing. Instead of band-aid approaches to the problem, they are telling Americans that this nation with its growing population and growing economy must build more power plants, must give relief to refineries working at 96 percent of their capacity by encouraging oil companies to build more and expand the capacity of existing ones. To achieve this," Caruba counsels, "will require junking a ton of EPA regulations standing in the way."

Caruba recommends drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, "where the sun does not shine nine months a year" and "an estimated 16 billion barrels of oil" is going to waste under the earth's surface. He also recommends drilling "offshore of California and offshore of Florida, where more oil exists." Will marine life be threatened? On the contrary. Ask any deep-sea fisherman in Louisiana where's the best place to catch fish in the gulf and he'll tell you: by the rigs.


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