Providence Journal Editorial, Sunday, May 7,2006
We must hand it to Venezuelan President Hugo Chave
z for his brilliant public-relations maneuvers. He has brokered with Massachusetts Congressman William Delahun
t and former Bay State Congressman Joseph Kennedy
, head of Citizens Energy Corp., for additional cut-rate oil for needy residents of the Northeast next winter.
Petroleum Corp., a unit of Venezuela's state-owned oil company, had discount heating-oil programs last winter, which was a publicity boon to the increasingly dictatorial, militarized and anti-American Chavez regime. Venezuela, despite Mr. Chavez's crocodile tears for America's poor, has, of course, joined other countries in jacking up oil prices big-time.
Soaring world oil prices have offered Mr. Chavez a lot of maneuvering room. Americans, after all, are used to cheap oil, which is the major reason for the current panic (although we still pay at least $2 less for gasoline than do the Europeans).
Meanwhile, even as we write, Massachusetts Senator Kennedy, abetted by lobbyists for William Koch
, the fossil-fuel heir, and the Alaska congressional delegation's famous hardball oil-industry promoters are trying to kill the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm, which would provide three-quarters of the Cape and Islands' electricity. And Massachusetts politicians put barriers in the way of most other energy facilities, too, especially those for liquefied natural gas -- which is much cleaner than oil.
The deal with Mr. Chavez serves as nice camouflage for some New England politicians' energy policies, which have meant higher prices and less reliable energy for the region. It also helps maintain the illusion that we can forever safely rely on oil from Mideast dictators, or South American ones, and forget that we're dependent on their whims.
The effect of Messrs. Delahunt and Kennedy's deals with Hugo Chavez is to help ensure that New England continues addicted to unreliable, polluting and ever more expensive energy -- except for those intervals when a dictator wants to garner some favor. What humanitarians!
Messrs. Delahunt, Kennedy and Kennedy favor new energy resources -- just not right now, or here. They'd rather do deals with oil-fueled dictators masquerading as humanitarians. (It's all one story: Hugo Chavez called Saddam Hussein his "brother.")
* * *
Perhaps a future of solar, wind and other such sources of energy will bring back the likes of the Rochester Electric Light and Power Co., in Rochester, Vt.
Or maybe many of us will have our very own power company.
But as it is, the family that controls the company has decided to retire, and power for the company's 900 customers will henceforth be provided by the mighty Central Vermont Public Service Corp.