(FLASHBACK-January 2010)-STEVE WILLIAMS Opinion Page Editor
I don’t know what they have to say, It makes no difference anyway, Whatever it is, I’m against it. No matter what it is or who commenced it, I’m against it.—Groucho Marx in ‘Horsefeathers’ (1932)
That would be California Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s stand on developing energy, of all sorts and types. She’s against it.
Her latest “I’m against it” gig occurred last week when she came out against using Mojave Desert land for solar and wind power projects.
The senator introduced legislation Dec. 21 to establish two national monuments on roughly 1 million acres of Mojave Desert land, one called Mojave Trails National Monument. The legislation would prohibit development on 941,000 acres of federal land and former railroad company property along a 105-mile-long stretch of old Route 66, between Ludlow and Needles.
Her proposal, of course, is aimed at wind and solar — mostly solar — projects.
Several energy companies involved in wind and solar-produced electricity have been looking at the Mojave for years as a perfect place for renewable energy projects. But recently, apparently in the face of Feinstein’s opposition, two of them, BrightSource Energy Inc. and Stirling Energy Systems, scrapped plans to build solar and wind farms on a stretch of the proposed Mojave Trails monument.
But that’s only the senator’s latest attack on energy development and production in this country. Back in 2003, when George W. Bush was proposing federal subsidies for construction of new nuclear plants in the United States, Feinstein said in a Senate speech that, “I strongly believe it is not in the public interest for our nation to subsidize costly nuclear plants. Instead we should devote more resources to the development of renewable energy.” Um, would that include wind and solar? Apparently not.
And then there’s oil exploration and production off the California coast. In 2008, in response to $4.50 a gallon gasoline, Bush lifted the executive order banning such drilling. Lady Di’s response? “This would be a terrible mistake. It would put our nation’s (read: California’s) precious coastlines in jeopardy and wouldn’t begin to fix the underlying energy-supply problem.” But what would?
This is all so typical, and reflects the not-inmy-back-yard stand on energy development taken by liberals, captives of the enviro-activists. Remember the Cape Wind controversy? Cape Wind, an energy development firm, spent millions of dollars in litigation costs, delays and regulatory hurdles in attempting to build a 130-turbine offshore project in Nantucket Sound. That was Ted Kennedy and John Kerry country, so they nixed the project even though the turbines would have been barely visible on the horizon from the shores of the Sound.
Monday the Wall Street Journal reported that a Korean-led consortium has won a landmark contract, valued at about $20.4 billion, to build four nuclear reactors in the United Arab Emirates. U.A.E., remember, is awash in oil, yet has opted to build the reactors. Why? U.A.E.’s leaders are not fools. It’s cheaper (and ultimately safer if one considers that nuclear reactors do not emit any of those pollutants enviros consider unsafe to human health and the planet, such as CO2) to build the plants so the oil saved can be sold elsewhere.
Remember too that U.A.E. is pretty much all desert, a perfect place for solar generation. But then remember that solar requires huge swaths of land, whereas nukes do not. Gwyneth Cravens, author of the book, “Power to Save the World. The truth about Nuclear Energy,” points out that “A nuclear power plant producing 1,000 megawatts takes up a third of a square mile. A wind farm would have to cover over 200 square miles to obtain the same result, and a solar array over 50 square miles.”
Fat chance we’ll build any new nukes in California anytime soon, though. Or wind farms or solar plants either. Di’s against it.