Beggars Can be Choosers

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California environmental groups and their allies in state government have imposed so many planning regulations that it is virtually impossible to build electric power plants in their state. As a result, according to The Wall Street Journal, California gets 25% of its power from other states.

Rather than humbly accept this gift, California’s elites are exhibiting even more chutzpah (and imposing even more costs on their citizens). The latest demand is that any incoming electricity must come from a plant whose emissions of greenhouse gases are no higher than those of a natural-gas-fired utility. So, if the energy comes from a coal-fired plant, its emissions of carbon must be cut in half. About 20 coal-fueled plants are being planned around the West (none in California, of course), and this proposal could require the plant owners to remove carbon dioxide from the emissions and inject it into the ground – a technique that isn’t available yet and might not be for a decade.

Is the California Energy Commission trying to bully other states? Not at all, says commission chairman Joseph Desmond. California just happens to be the biggest energy consumer in the West, and this is “an opportunity to shape what is built.”

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