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E-M:/ Radio ad: One year later, we're still vulnerable to blackouts

Title: Message

FYI - New radio ads running in Lansing and Kalamazoo this week - for Saturday's anniversary of the blackout.



New Radio Ad:  One Year after Largest Blackout in U.S. History,

Bush Administration & Congress Have Done Nothing to Prevent Future Blackouts,


Lansing, MI - One year after the largest blackout in U.S. history, the Bush Administration and Congress have done nothing to prevent future electricity blackouts, according to new radio ads paid for by a coalition of 22 major environmental groups.


The Northeast-Midwest blackout starting August 14, 2003 left over 28 million people in Michigan, New York, Ohio and other states without electricity for up to four days.  Nonetheless, the Administration and Congress have done nothing to increase the reliability of the electricity grid, reduce demand via energy efficiency, or spur renewable energy.  The coalition of 22 national environmental organizations, Save Our Environment, will air ads pointing out this failure on radio stations in Kalamazoo and Lansing, Michigan and in Toledo, Akron, and Canton, Ohio. 


The ad, titled “In the Dark,” will air in the five media markets 15 to 25 times a day from Wednesday, August 11 through Saturday, August 14, the first anniversary of the blackout. The ad copy, audio of the ad, and a list of stations where the ad will air are available upon request.


“The Bush Administration and Congressional leaders promote policies that could leave us in the dark again,” said Megan Owens, Field Director for PIRGIM, which is a member of Save Our Environment.  “They are pushing an energy bill that leaves us at risk for future blackouts, while they squander taxpayer dollars on dirty fuels such as coal, oil, and nuclear power.”


“These ads are a wake up call for the Bush Administration and Congress. They must act now to make electricity more reliable, renewable, and efficient,” said Debbie Boger, Deputy Legislative Director of Sierra Club, another member of Save Our Environment.  “Increased reliability, energy efficiency, and more renewable power will reduce the risk of future blackouts, create jobs, and reduce pollution.”


A recent analysis by Synapse Energy Economics found that increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy, and distributed generation would save an estimated $36 billion annually by 2025.  At the same time, it would reduce the harmful public health and environmental effects of electricity generation.  The report is available at www.newenergyfuture.com.


Since the August 14, 2003 blackout, the Bush and Administration and Congressional leaders have held reliability standards hostage to passage of the energy bill, H.R. 6, which contains $31 billion in taxpayer handouts to industry. It would encourage more oil drilling, coal consumption, and nuclear power.  More than 100 newspapers have editorialized in opposition to H.R. 6, including The Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, Lansing State Journal, and Kalamazoo Gazette.  The House of Representatives passed the bill twice, but the Senate blocked it twice.  Despite the fact that it leaves consumers more vulnerable to blackouts, proponents of H.R. 6 may use the anniversary of the blackout as an excuse to revive it.


Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) have introduced stand-alone reliability legislation, H.R. 3004 and S. 2014, and that would be a good first step to make the electric grid more reliable.  Instead, Congressional leaders continue to promote the failed policies in H.R. 6, which does little to increase the reliability, renewability, or efficiency of our electricity. 


Reps Dingell and Tim Bishop (D-NY) are circulating a “discharge petition” that would force the House of Representatives to vote on H.R. 3004, if a majority of the House signs the petition.  They have 169 out of 218 signatures required to force a vote, and will continue to seek signatures when Congress returns on September 7.


Megan Owens
PIRGIM Field Director                       
office - 734-662-6597                      
cell - 248-259-2439
PIRGIM is a non-profit public interest advocacy group,
working throughout Michigan to protect consumers,
preserve the environment and promote good government.