The most scandalous aspect of the coal-plant controversy is the refusal -- yea, the inability -- of coal-plant foes to describe just how they'd go about providing for Texas' large and growing energy needs at a time of shrinking natural gas supplies and deep opposition to nuclear power. We hear about "conservation." We hear about wind power, solar power; we sometimes even hear about coal gasification. We never hear coal-plant foes explain how that's going to happen, and what it would mean and cost. Coal gasification, for instance: The technology is (at present) expensive and still under development. Wind? A nice little supplement, but a major source? Show us where and how much.
What a huge help these polltakers are in addressing energy needs -- living proof that it's easier to tear something down than to build it. Ironic that the money and inspiration for this disinformation campaign should come from the Rockefellers -- who were never known, in days of yore, for tender feelings toward the environment. Or much else.
That's where we are as 2007 begins -- nursing fantasies of pleasant, morally enriching solutions to the latest energy crunch; unruffled, for now, by the power of overseas exporters to determine how much we'll pay for energy.
Texas, being Texas, likely will get its coal plants eventually. But I ask you, Texas: If Texans must wrestle this hard with rock-bottom questions such as how we keep the lights on, what does that say about the nation's capacity to engage in the same wrestling match? Nothing particularly cheerful, I'd venture.