Prop Zero
The Starting Point for Commentary and Coverage of California Politics

Build That Transmission Line Now!

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    MOUNT PROSPECT, IL - AUGUST 18: A sign that reads "Electric Wires DANGER High Voltage" is displayed on steel towers carrying power transmission lines August 18, 2003 in Mount Prospect, Illinois. After last week's power outage that affected major portions of the northeast United States and southeast Canada, Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich has announced the creation of a Special Task Force on the Condition and Future of the Illinois Energy Infrastructure. The committee will conduct a comprehensive analysis of Illinois' energy infrastructure, and recommend any necessary changes to meet demand and respond to widespread outages similar to the August 14 failure. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

    One reason why the application of alternative energy is so hard? Environmentalists keep objecting.

    Yep, that's right.

    Consider the case of El Centro, a city 100 miles east of San Diego that is a hotbed (pun intended) of solar, wind and geothermal energy that the folks at San Diego Gas & Electric would like to exploit. But they can't. Why not? Because people that the New York Times calls "neighbors and wilderness advocates" are objecting to a transmission line the utility needs to build to get the energy from El Centro

    Their objection is that the transmission line would also carry power from other energy sources, including dirty ones. Such an objection is a diversion -- transmission lines carry all kinds of power, as opponents surely know.

    No, this is the worst sort of environmental perfectionism. Even the development of alternative energy that helps preserve the environment requires some environmental tradeoffs. It's long past time to build that transmission line. If Gov-elect Brown is looking for something to do quickly, this is a project where he could crack skulls and force action, all in the name of progress.