News Release

Interviews Available on Energy Crisis: “We Are at a Crossroads”


While governors from 10 western states met with federal officials in Portland, Ore., today to discuss the regional energy crisis, critics in California and the Pacific Northwest were calling for fundamental changes in government policies on electric power generation. The following policy analysts are available for interviews:

The director of the Green Power Project at the Portland-based organization Northwest Environmental Advocates, Rosolie said this afternoon: “It’s unfortunate that elected officials failed to see the warning signs of this energy crisis months ago. Friday’s conference will amount to nothing more than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. The real losers in this will be the consumers and the environment. The discussion that the governors need to have is about who owns generating resources, not merely how to build them faster. As long as resources are owned by private companies, be they utilities or the likes of Enron, consumers will always lose… Every new plant that is built that burns fossil fuel will add to the ever-growing problem of global warming. Any decision about our energy future without consideration of the environmental impacts — especially global warming and climate change — is shortsighted and not in the public interest.”
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Benjamin, a spokesperson for the Coalition Against Utility Rate Hikes, said Friday afternoon: “We are at a crossroads in the power crisis. In California, the legislators are caught between a path that will lead to the bailout of the utility companies at taxpayer and ratepayer expense, and a solution that will lead to the protection of consumers and greater public control of our energy system. Governor Gray Davis and the legislators have strong ties to the power companies, which have not only given them large campaign contributions but also have a legion of lobbyists who are helping them craft legislation. On the other hand are our consumer and community groups with meager staff and little access to the decision-makers, but with sensible solutions to this crisis… We should require the utility companies to use the profits and assets of all their divisions and holding companies to pay their own debts. No more bailouts! Public monies should not be spent to buy stock options in mismanaged utility companies, but to buy assets for the generation and transmission of power. Since the privately owned utility companies have proven themselves incapable of supplying a reliable, affordable source of energy to the people of California, our goal should be to move toward public ownership of power. The well-run municipal utilities that exist all over the state prove the benefits of public power.”
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For further information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167