Energy Fracas Fricasseed

by Nick Welsh

Around the same time the California Democratic Party embraced an
energy platform written almost entirely by the Community
Environmental Council (CEC) — Santa Barbara’s oldest environmental
think tank — a Washington, D.C., public policy organization
announced it will air TV ads in Santa Barbara disputing the
existence of global warming and decrying efforts to curtail carbon
dioxide emissions as economy killers. Produced by the Competitive
Enterprise Institute (CEI), the ads’ punch line is, “Carbon
dioxide: They call it pollution. We call it life.” The 60-second
ads will be broadcast on Fox affiliates in 13 cities nationwide,
including two in California. Contrary to most scientific reports,
CEI — which enjoys considerable financing from the oil
industry — claims Greenland’s ice sheets are getting thicker, not
thinner. Partially in response to the threat of global warming, the
state’s Democratic Party adopted a policy calling on California to
produce 40 percent of its electricity from renewable sources and
reduce electrical and natural gas consumption by 20 percent by
2020; the platform also demands the state use alternative
transportation fuels for 40 percent of its total needs by 2030.

Citing the high price of gasoline, congressional Republicans are
once again attacking the 25-year-old moratorium on new oil and gas
development off much of California’s coast, including Santa
Barbara. House Republicans inserted an amendment to an interior
appropriations bill that would annul the moratorium on new natural
gas development, while leaving the oil moratorium intact.
Congressmember Lois Capps opposes this measure, and her press
secretary Emily Kryder argued that opening the coast to natural gas
development would do little to alleviate the pinch at the pump.
Natural gas, Kryder noted, is cheaper today than it was a year ago.
This is the second time in two years that the moratorium has come
under attack. Capps and other coastal Californians repelled last
year’s effort.

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