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Voice: Bush and Texas-based energy companies not to blame for crisis

February 10, 2001

As a Brawley native and current Texan (proud of both) I feel compelled to respond to the Thomas D. Elias opinion piece on Tuesday wherein he blames President Bush and Texas-based energy companies for the California energy fiasco.

Try blaming three decades of environmental extremism. Natural gas is the cleanest-burning fossil fuel for power generation, yet drilling for it off the California coast is banned. Coal is the cheapest and most abundant fossil fuel in the U.S., yet California bans the construction of new coal-fired power plants. Clean-burn technology has reduced coal-fired emissions to a fraction of what they once were.

California seems to want very cheap power without increasing generating capacity. Conversely, Texas has built 35 new power plants that will allow us to have a 24 percent excess power reserve even on our hottest summer days.

Texas is a buyers' market. California with zero reserve margin is a sellers' market, and yet Mr. Elias and others portray President Bush and the Texas power companies as the villains. California's one-sided so-called deregulation amounts to no more than price controls. In Texas competition is being implemented before deregulation. Competition is a much better regulator than government.

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Good luck, my friends! You're going to need it.

CALVIN KIDWELL

Lubbock, Texas

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