WASHINGTON - August 11 - One year after the largest blackout in U.S. history, the Bush Administration and Congress have done nothing to prevent future electricity blackouts, according to new radio ads paid for by a coalition of 22 national environmental groups.
The Northeast-Midwest blackout on Aug. 14, 2003, left over 28 million people in Michigan, New York, Ohio and other states without electricity for up to four days. Nonetheless, the Administration and Congress have done nothing to increase the reliability of the electricity grid, reduce demand via energy efficiency, or spur renewable energy. The coalition of 22 national environmental organizations, Save Our Environment (see note), will air ads pointing out this failure on radio stations in Akron, Canton, and Toledo, Ohio and in Kalamazoo and Lansing, Michigan. All of these cities lost power during the blackout. The ad, titled "In the Dark," was produced by Haddow Communications. It will air in the five media markets 15 to 25 times a day from Wednesday, August 11 through Saturday, August 14, the first anniversary of the blackout. The ad copy and list of stations where the ad will air is attached; an MP3 file of the ad audio is available by contacting Dan Weiss at 202-478-6307 or email@example.com.
"The Bush Administration and Congressional leaders promote policies that could leave us in the dark again," said Anna Aurilio, Legislative Director of U.S. PIRG, which is a member of Save Our Environment. "They are pushing an energy bill that leaves us at risk for future blackouts, while they squander taxpayer dollars on dirty fuels such as coal, oil, and nuclear power."
"These ads are a wake up call for the Bush Administration and Congress. They must act now to make electricity more reliable, renewable, and efficient," said Debbie Boger, Deputy Legislative Director of Sierra Club, another member of Save Our Environment. "Increased reliability, energy efficiency, and more renewable power will reduce the risk of future blackouts, create jobs, and reduce pollution."
A recent analysis by Synapse Energy Economics found that increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy, and distributed generation would save an estimated $36 billion annually by 2025. At the same time, it would reduce the harmful public health and environmental effects of electricity generation. The report is available at http://www.newenergyfuture.com.
Since the Aug. 14, 2003, blackout, the Bush and Administration and Congressional leaders have held reliability standards hostage to passage of the energy bill, H.R. 6, which contains $31 billion in taxpayer handouts to industry. It would encourage more oil drilling, coal consumption, and nuclear power. More than 100 newspapers have editorialized in opposition to H.R. 6, including The Akron Beacon Journal, Dayton Daily New, Detroit News, Kalamazoo Gazette, Toledo Blade, and The Wall Street Journal. The House of Representatives passed the bill twice, but the Senate blocked it twice. Despite the fact that it leaves consumers more vulnerable to blackouts, proponents of H.R. 6 may use the anniversary of the blackout as an excuse to revive it.
Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) have introduced stand-alone reliability legislation, H.R. 3004 and S. 2014, and that would be a good first step to make the electric grid more reliable. Instead, Congressional leaders continue to promote the failed policies in H.R. 6, which does little to increase the reliability, renewability, or efficiency of our electricity.
Reps Dingell and Tim Bishop (D-NY) are circulating a "discharge petition" that would force the House of Representatives to vote on H.R. 3004, if a majority of the House signs the petition. They have 169 out of 218 signatures required to force a vote, and will continue to seek signatures when Congress returns on September 7.
Following is a list of stations the ads will run on:
AKRON, OH: WAKR-AM, WKDD-FM, WNIR-FM
CANTON, OH: WHBC-AM, WHBC-FM, WZKL-FM
TOLEDO, OH: WKKO-FM, WRQN-FM, WRVF-FM, WTOD-AM
KALAMAZOO, MI: WKFR-FM, WKZO-AM, WQLR-FM
LANSING, MI: WILS-AM, WITL-FM, WJIM-FM, WFMK-FM
NOTE: Save Our Environment is a coalition of 22 major national environmental organizations including the Sierra Club, U.S. PIRG, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Save Our Environment Radio :60 "In the Dark" August 4, 2004
The day the earth stood still.
On August 14, 2003 air conditioners, street lights and anything that needs power shut down when parts of the Northeast and Midwest power grid failed, stranding 50 million people in the worst blackout in U.S. history.
The blackout affected more than 4.1 million people in Ohio, and 5.9 million people in Michigan. The blackout affected more than 28 million people in the U.S., and left 22 million Canadians without power as well. -- Final Report on the August 14th Blackout in the United States and Canada, U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force, April 2004
Now a year later, nothing's changed.
We are just as vulnerable to a blackout.
Our power supply is still unreliable and power companies unaccountable.
The Bush Administration and Congress have done nothing to protect us from future blackouts.
Congress has not passed legislation to increase the reliability of the electrical grid, decrease demand via energy efficiency, or rely on renewable sources of energy such as solar or wind power.
Instead of upgrading the grid, encouraging energy efficiency or increasing the use of renewable power, they are holding reliable electricity hostage to energy policies of the past that would increase use of polluting oil, coal and nuclear power.
The Bush Administration and Congressional leaders support the Energy Policy Act of 2003, H.R. 6, which does little to increase reliability, efficiency or renewable energy. Instead, it would encourage more oil drilling and consumption, coal, and nuclear power. H.R. 6 was blocked in the Senate. It has been opposed by over 100 major newspapers across the country, including the Wall St. Journal, Detroit News, Kalamazoo Gazette, Akron Beacon Journal, Toledo Blade, and Dayton Daily News.
"Given the administration's slavishness toward the energy industry, it is no surprise that the bill has been turned into a bazaar full of goodies for the oil and gas crowd. Nothing, however, warrants relaxing laws that protect the public health and safety." -- Toledo Blade, October 22, 2003
"Low-Voltage: Senate filibuster threat halts a badly crafted bill" -- Kalamazoo Gazette, November 25, 2003
According to U.S. PIRG and Union of Concerned Scientists analysis of Department of Energy data, Michigan has the potential to use wind and other renewable energy resources (excluding solar energy) to provide electricity to 9 million homes -- enough to replace its current electricity generation from coal, natural gas, and nuclear power. -- Generating Solutions: How Clean, Renewable Energy Is Boosting Local Economies And Saving Consumers Money, April 2003; http://uspirg.org/uspirg.asp?id2=9634&id3=USPIRG
The same report found that Ohio has the potential to use renewable energy sources (excluding solar energy) to provide electricity to three million homes. This is enough to replace one-fourth of its coal generated electricity. -- ibid
The Bush Administration and Congress must act now to adopt policies that would prevent future blackouts by making our electricity more reliable, efficient, and clean.
"To avoid unnecessary complexity, Congress should keep the grid-reliability issue separate from the many issues surrounding an already pending energy bill. -- Dayton Daily News, September 06, 2003
"The cost of fixing the electric grid is not astronomical, but it will be high enough, and it should have priority over such controversial issues as drilling for oil in wilderness areas." -- Toledo Blade, August 21, 2003
"What Congress needs to do is strip new mandates for operation of the grid from its moribund energy bill and pass them as separate legislation. And it should do so now, not later, before another catastrophic blackout ensues." -- Toledo Blade, April 8, 2004
Reps. John Dingell (D-MI) and Tim Bishop (D-NY) are circulating a "discharge petition" that would force the House of Representatives to vote on an electrical reliability standards bill, H.R. 3004, if a majority of the House signs it. They have 169 out of 218 signatures required to force a vote. -- Environment and Energy Daily, July 21, 2004
Paid for by Save Our Environment
Save Our Environment is a coalition of 22 major national environmental organizations including the Sierra Club, U.S. PIRG, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.