Blackouts imminent by 2009, power plants need not apply

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By Carlos Macias

By Carlos Macias

If the government has its way, you may be studying by candlelight.

The smog control agency South Coast Air Quality Management District tries to look out for the environment’s interests and has tried to restrict public utility managers from creating new power plants. However, new power plants are needed in the Riverside and San Bernardino areas to battle rolling blackouts by 2009.

The agency has built up the case that building new plants will increase air pollution, even if it will help us combat impending rolling blackouts.

Air pollution is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly, and it’s something we live in everyday. It causes diseases and illnesses that we would see less of if contamination caused by power plants and cars was eliminated.

On the other hand, blackouts are also something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. We saw evidence of this during the statewide energy crisis in 2001.

Both issues are of great concern to us. Although we would like to be environmentally friendly, we would still like to be able to rely on electricity to conduct our lives normally.

The agency is against plans to build two new power plants that would alleviate the possibility of blackouts during heat droughts in the summer, when energy is used most. The new power plants would cause the ever rising air pollution to increase at a greater rate and, in turn, create more fine-particle pollution which has been known to create many illnesses.

We’ve lived surrounded by air pollution all our lives. While creating new plants will increase the level of pollution and likelihood of disease in the long run, at present it’s a good idea that will prevent near-future rolling blackouts.

It’s necessary to build more power plants in order to combat inevitable rolling blackouts in 2009. And as city officials suggest, they should start building them now to be ready.

The agency’s proposed solution is to alternate power plants. This would grant specific areas with electricity while others sit in the dark. Their solution is impractical because it will take five to seven years to finish. By then we’ll be used to rotating power.

As seen in 2001, blackouts seriously disturb the fabric of our everyday lives. As soon as blackouts become common, we will live in a world governed by a “take turns” system where people will have lights on one day and off another.

The idea of caring for the environment might be good, but you won’t care once your lights are going out.

Our society is run heavily on electricity, so the likelihood that environmentalists will prevent the city from building new power plants is unlikely.

The issue of whether or not to build new power plants could be easier to determine if it was in middle of nowhere, but it’s in our large community. Riverside and San Bernardino counties have seen a surge in population growth. That means that there are more people to rise up to complain.

Everyone likes to take time to think of what we’re doing to the environment. Regardless, I’m sure adding a little pollution to the environment will be a more popular choice if it means consistent power.

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