Dam the river or dim the lights

State Senator Rico Oller(Republican-San Andreas)

If you can’t read this article, it is probably because you are sitting in the dark due to California’s power crisis. Go ahead, light a candle and read on. We have problems.

While our population has grown, radical environmentalists have stifled new power sources and water supplies. The power crisis we face today will certainly become a long-term one, unless we face our situation forthrightly. And we must recognize that our current power crisis is but a harbinger of the even more difficult power and water shortages that lie ahead. We must face both issues with vision and courage.

Without major policy changes, California’s future will bring rolling blackouts, a declining economy and a quality of life one would not expect in a modern society.

As a part of the solution, I have proposed a bill that will authorize the selling of bonds to raise the money necessary to build a multipurpose Auburn Dam. A dam brings new energy and a stable water supply in the most environment-friendly package possible.

For years, conservatives like me have been bashed as being anti-environment and irresponsible with the natural resources of our state. Now—regrettably—we face the reality of a true disaster with dire economic and environmental consequences.

For us now to ignore the need for an Auburn Dam is to abandon the pretense that we at the Capitol serve the public good. The power crisis is the result of shortsighted and selfish politicians who would rather protect their political power than serve the public good.

We are in this situation because for too long the environmental tail has been allowed to wag the societal dog. They say we cannot build coal plants or gas plants because they pollute the dirt. They say we cannot build nuclear plants because we don’t want spent fuel rods to pollute the ground. Windmills cause “noise pollution,” and putting a dam on the American River stops white-water rafting.

As a result, we will sit through cold dark nights of winter and face dry hot summers.

We need an Auburn Dam to provide power for our homes, power for the businesses that provide our jobs, in an environmentally clean way. We need an Auburn Dam to provide the water we drink, and the flood control to protect our homes, schools and businesses.

Any politician who tells you otherwise is trying to keep you in the dark.