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Is Dick in the Dark or Just Dishonest?
Published on Wednesday, May 16, 2001 by TomPaine.com
Is Dick in the Dark or Just Dishonest?
from Tom Paine.com's New York Times weekly Op-Ad
 
Vice President Dick Cheney’s recent ridicule of energy conservation can be explained in one of two ways. Either he is completely in the dark about efficiency’s economic and environmental advantages, or he is profoundly dishonest and willing to mislead Americans under the guise of serving them.

Cheney blamed California’s electricity shortage on conservation, despite contrary evidence. He advanced the false notion that conservation requires austerity. He hyped the "energy crisis" as a rationale for setting aside environmental protections.

The resulting furor forced Cheney to backtrack. And no wonder.

Practical experience and credible research show that conservation -- "mining" wasted energy -- is the fastest, cheapest and cleanest way to increase supply.

Every dollar invested in energy efficiency in federal buildings returns $4 in energy cost savings to the taxpayer, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

The Army cut peak electricity use by 43 percent at its Fort Polk base after installing efficient lighting, new air conditioning systems, new insulation, and low-flow shower heads, a report in the New York Times says.

Energy expert Joseph Romm says a national "energy czar" with $1 billion to spend on simple efficiency programs -- like energy audits, efficient lighting, and software that turns off unused computer monitors -- would quickly displace the need for dozens of new power plants. Payback time: under two years.

Energy efficiency improvements made since 1973 save Americans $400 billion annually, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Does Cheney, supposedly a savvy businessman, understand such bottom-line results? Or does he put "supply side" ideology and the interest of campaign donors ahead of the public interest?

We’ll see when the White House releases its energy policy.

© 1999-2001 The Florence Fund

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