August 23, 2003
Schumer's hypocrisy

Note: many of the links to Schumer's website will give you "cannot find server" faults. Just hit the refresh button, and they will load. The Senate's servers are apparently a bit overloaded.

An AP story entitled Schumer Faults Bush for Massive Blackout highlights Charles Schumers monumental and shameless hypocrisy. He blasts Bush and the Republican party for favoring deregulation, accusing their policies of resulting in the blackout last week.

"I can think of no greater indictment of this policy than the millions of people without power and the loss of billions of dollars that occurred last week," he said.

He found a culprit in what he called the Republican administration's "doctrinal commitment to unfettered deregulation."

However, a quick check of Schumer's own website reveals that when it comes to energy deregulation, Schumer is a supporter himself. In 2000, he and Phil Gramm (yes, Phil Gramm of Texas) introduced a bill (The Consumer Empowerment and Electricity Deregulation Act of 2000") that would have established a sweeping deregulation of the energy industry, far beyond the minor restructuring in New York or California. The bill was never brought up for a vote, but Schumer was an enthusiastic sponsor. Note the bill has nothing to do with updating transmission lines, nothing to do with strengthening the oversight board, nothing to do with reliability; in short, nothing to do with what he is now blaming Bush for failing to fix.

Schumer has an extensive archive of press releases relating to energy issues, yet there is very little that mentions rebuilding the energy grid. What few press releases mention this issue are limited exclusively to New York City and Long Island, rather than to the northeast power grid. In this press release from October 2000, he advocates linking New Jersey and (eastern) Pennsylvania (two areas not affected by the blackout) to New York, using technology that does not yet exist. If this had been implemented (ignoring the technology hurdle) the end result would have been an even wider blackout. His most recent release calls on Spencer Abraham, Secretary of Energy, to disregard court rulings in Connecticut and authorize permanent use of the cross-sound cable, which provides up to 330 MW of power to Long Island, from New England. The cable has been tied up in environmental litigation since completion, but Schumer wants to bypass the environmental safeguards to keep Long Island lit up.

UPDATE: John Cole at Balloon Juice has the goods on New York's OTHER senator, Hillary Clinton, as well as a link to a New York Times piece that showed that Bush's energy plan, which included plans to strengthen the grid, was killed by Senate Dems two years ago. Schumer was one of the leaders in the fight against the Bush plan. Check it out.

posted on August 23, 2003 10:53 AM


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