Greedy energy industry hasn't changed

Polls show Americans trust private business more than they trust the government. This reveals an astounding naïvete. It's the influence of private industry that largely controls the U.S. government today. Recent coal-mining and oil-drilling disasters illustrate how corrupt our government has become.

The Bush administration let the energy industry write their own safety rules. The purpose of private enterprise is to maximize profit. Steps to protect the environment, worker safety and consumers reduce this profit, so naturally the energy industry chose to cut corners by writing weak regulations.

Contrary to the near daily letters on this page condemning President Obama as a socialist or Marxist, the current administration simply has been a continuation of the previous one that let the energy industry do whatever it wanted. Permits are still issued without adequate regulatory review. Moreover, just like the previous administration, ridiculous claims are made that modern technology makes the old fossil-fuel business safer than ever.

Augusta could become the site of a disaster far surpassing the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico. The nuclear industry claims that new reactors are safer than ever. This is an alarming lie. Like the oil and coal businesses, the company building new nuclear reactors wants to maximize profit by cutting corners. New designs for nuclear reactors don't include redundant containment systems, which have proved necessary for the old ones 80 times in the past 45 years.

Regulations influenced by utility companies actually discourage private homeowners from investing in residential solar power. Energy companies can't make a profit from people who generate their own energy. We are headed for more disasters unless the people demand that politicians support policies for the common good over those maximizing profits for a greedy few.

Mark Gelbart

Augusta

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