News Release

Bush in California: Energy Blame Game?


President Bush’s meeting with California Gov. Gray Davis today brings heightened attention to energy issues. Critics assert that the White House still fails to address key factors. Among those available for interviews:

Media director of The Utility Reform Network in California, Spatt said today: “California is facing economic disaster due to a failed experiment in deregulation and price gouging by Bush’s friends in the energy industry.”
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Coordinator of the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network, Wysham said today: “We do not have an energy crisis — we have a clear failure of deregulation and a short-term demand for fossil fuels exceeding supply…. The real crisis we have is a serious climate crisis… We can kill two birds with one stone: reduce our energy costs and avert the climate crisis by investing in a long-term energy plan that involves conservation of energy and investment in renewables. The U.S. Department of Energy has issued reports that show we can meet one-half of our energy demand with energy efficiency and conservation…”
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Wasserman is author of The Last Energy War: The Battle Over Utility Deregulation. He said today: “A fake crisis in California is being used as a pretext for a government-sponsored revival of atomic power…”
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Benjamin is founding director of Global Exchange, which is one of the groups that placed an ad in the California edition of today’s New York Times stating: “Prices have gone through the roof not because demand has skyrocketed, not because production costs have skyrocketed, but simply because a handful of electricity suppliers are manipulating the market and holding California hostage.” Today, Benjamin said of Bush’s proposal for $150 million in federal aid to help low-income people with energy bills: “That’s a drop in the bucket, it’s two days worth of energy spending. We have been overcharged at least $6.2 billion according to the Independent Systems Operator.”
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An award-winning Indian journalist on a speaking tour of the U.S., Sainath said today: “The one formerly solvent and profit-making state electricity board in India is running tens of millions of dollars of losses after getting into a deal with Enron. If Californians can’t afford it, imagine Indians.”

President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, Makhijani said today: “The Bush administration wants to build a national electricity grid that would be at the service of large-scale speculators and marketers like Enron. This creates unnecessary demands on infrastructure and would be outside the control of local authorities. We should instead be building grid infrastructure where the wind energy is: the Dakotas, Texas, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska and Wyoming. These states have enormous wind energy potential: 20-25 percent of the electricity requirements of the U.S. each.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167