Washington Times -- January 16, 2001


When President Clinton declared a national monument over the clean coal of Southern Utah, thereby eliminating an enormous source of power for California, Californians and their government cheered.

When Mr. Clinton protected a roadless area over enormous natural gas deposits in Colorado, gas that could be used to generate electric power, Californians and their government cheered.

When Mr. Clinton's appointees suggested destroying dams in the Northwest that contribute to power generation in order to help salmon (which are consumed heavily by overabundant and unmanaged seals at the mouths of those streams), Californians and their government cheered.

When presidential candidate George W. Bush proposed opening Northern Alaska to oil drilling in order to increase our energy supplies and lower costs, Mr. Clinton and presidential candidate Al Gore opposed any exploration or drilling. Californians decided early on to vote for Mr. Gore.

California and the Clinton administration have prohibited oil drilling and exploration off the California shore.

California has prohibited nuclear power plants and oil refinery construction for years.

California has built enormous propellers in the desert that, while making minuscule contributions to their power needs, kill untold numbers of migratory birds every year.

Now, facing blackouts that are causing high-tech companies to look to relocate, California may pull the nation into a recession. The cause of this potential crisis, we are told, is deregulation, cold weather, price gouging and, ultimately, a lack of government control. If the federal and state governments take control and determine who will produce power and for what price, the logic goes, everything would be fine.

However, if the West is to continue to grow economically and population-wise, more power must be made available. We cannot sit atop coal and natural gas, fail to develop our oil resources and prohibit offshore drilling and the construction of nuclear power plants. Government cannot dictate prices and hope to maintain the free economy that has made this country so great. If we cannot understand that the restriction by unreasonable regulation of everything from refineries to power plants is counterproductive, then we forfeit freedom, our ability to rule ourselves.

Centreville, Va. 

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