Friday, April 27, 2007

Tough Talk from Washington, DC.

In one, single press conference yesterday, US Energy Secretary Sam Bodman not only made a major policy announcement, but he issued a direct challenge to activists who obstruct local energy projects for ecnomic, environmental, lifestyle or social issues.

In announcing the federal government's intention to designate a "national interest electric transmission corridor" through California, the Energy Secretary ordered a high-capacity transmission line be built through California to alleviate strain on the current grid--whether Californians like it or not.

Critics are calling the move unconsitutional--and it may be-- but a federal law passed in 2005 absolutely allows gives the federal government the authority to issue this mandate. (You think there might be a little litigation coming on this one?)

But perhaps the bigger story is this comment uttered by Bodman:

"The parochial interests that shaped energy policy in the 20th century will no longer work... ”

Rather indelicate rhetoric for a Cabinet Secretary!

While Bodman clearly must have flunked out of charm school, I applaud his firm commitment to address the deficencies in our national energy infrastructure.

But it's going to take more than tough talk-- Bodman just poked the greenies, the NIMBYS, and a whole host of other activists with a stick and you can bet they are going to respond. Look for this new transmission corridor to become a bellwether issue.

Feds push new power lines in California, mid-Atlantic states [San Diego Union Tribune]