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Issa-Touted Project Is Inefficient and Harmful

November 24, 2002

Re "An Emission-Free Way to Meet Energy Needs," Nov. 17:

Rep. Darrell E. Issa (R-Vista) describes a pumped storage project at Lake Elsinore as a source of "much-needed clean hydroelectric energy."

This statement is very misleading. Pumped storage projects, of course, produce no net energy and indeed are lucky to get back 75% of the energy they consume. They are simply a scheme to take advantage of the difference between daytime and nighttime electric rates. Hardly a compelling reason to burn coal in the daytime.

And of course, they do environmental damage -- at the top and bottom of their run. Lake Elsinore will not benefit from having its water removed and replaced daily and, more important, Morel Canyon and the vicinity, though not formal wilderness areas, are de facto wild areas valuable to the shrinking Cleveland National Forest.

Finally, Issa reassures us that we need not worry because the National Environmental Protection Act mandates a thorough review of the impact of forest giveaways such as this. But isn't the NEPA the very law the administration in Washington is trying to eviscerate?

Robert Siebert

Orange

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