03/22/01 Watching C-Span:
Bravo! to the Democrats in the Senate for their recent Energy Proposals and Comments. Those earning their pay include:

Jeff Bingaman, NM Ranking Member Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Architect of Senate Democratic Energy Plan
Dianne Feinstein, CA: has fought for badly needed price caps to help forestall a collapse of the finances of some Western States
Charles Schumer, NY: Energy Committee member showed awareness of progressive technologies. Discussed Plug Power's product and its advantages.
Byron Dorgan, ND: Energy Committee member showed awareness of renewable energy technologies and criticized Bush Administration over-focus on ANWR and fossil-fuel development. Quote from memory: "Let me be clear: The single-minded call for the development of ANWR is not a substitute for a solid Energy Policy in this country." Amen.
Tom Daschle, SD, Minority Leader
Pat Murray, WA: Spoke very well in defense of her constituents and the economy of her state, with impassioned intelligent criticism of Bush Administration (thus far) neglectful policies, which have already left her state's economy with real damage. This came on the heels of their Governor's Senate Testimony earlier in the week. Two pretty good public servants from that state, it seems.

To be clear: In my opinion, the Clinton Administration was just as bad in many ways, but that's in the past. It is amazing to me that Bush, like his father, can interpret a defense of free-markets and capitalism as doing nothing in the face of disaster. Allowing Enron and Dynegy and the like to feed at the trough of dozens of thousands of lost American jobs and wrecked businesses is not a defense of laissez-faire. It is an action which will forever give the cause of deregulation and free markets a black eye. We had regulated electricity policies for decades. It is only natural that in our effort to deregulate we might need some governmental intervention for a time. The breakup of the telecommunications monopolies is perhaps a decent example of a government supervising the restoration of free and competitive markets. Some of the alleged defenders of the Free Market philosophy, including Mr. Bush and Mr. Hebert of FERC, are misrepresenting their case and thus doing much damage to the cause of activism for Laissez-Faire and Free Markets.

To be sure, their opponents are doing much damage as well. For example, Mr. Davis's refusal to allow some increase in California rates, which would help drive down demand, has exacerbated the losses experienced by the three California distributors and left neighboring states in worse shape. Instead of allowing for a better semblance of a deregulated market, he has used the situation as an excuse to confiscate the means of distribution.... not quite what we need from a US governor.

Anyway, the Democratic Proposals, while doubtless flawed in many ways, do include a real understanding of the value of renewable energies and an active balanced governmental policy, more than can be said for Republican Proposals thus far. I look forward to improvement in the latter.