America's Energy Manifest Destiny
If Americans learn a common lesson from Sept. 11, the Enron scandal, and US rejection of the Kyoto treaty on global warming, it is that the problem of energy can't be left to Washington.
The federal government helped build and now maintains a highly centralized, fossil-fuel-dependent system of energy that is too vulnerable to terrorism, corporate corruption, and bureaucratic inflexibility.
- Terrorists can easily hit pipelines, big power plants, electricity grids, and fuel ships needed for the present system of energy.
- Energy traders like Enron, that thrive off the half-regulated, half-market status of big energy systems, spend millions of dollars currying favor with government officials.
- Consumers who want to use less-polluting or more-efficient energy methods often face big obstacles or unusual costs in doing so.
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