Wednesday, May 2, 2001

Bush’s energy
program is silent
on conservation

The issue: Vice President Dick Cheney
outlines the Bush administration's
energy program but leaves out
conservation measures.

Vice President Dick Cheney's preview of the Bush administration's energy strategy ignores the value of conservation efforts while aggressively pursuing an increase in supply. It is a position that lacks balance and disregards wide support for environmental protection.

Cheney contended that the main effort to meet rising demands for energy should be finding new sources of oil and gas, including that in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He also called for building new generating plants, saying the country needed one a week for 20 years. He asserted that coal would produce "affordable energy," despite the greenhouse gases emitted by coal burned without scrubbers. Cheney endorsed nuclear energy but overlooked the hazards of nuclear waste.

The vice president, who heads President Bush's energy task force, contended that without these programs, "all Americans could one day go through what Californians are experiencing now, or worse." These dire warnings confuse the cause of California's rolling blackouts. They were due to flawed deregulation, not to clean air regulations or oil shortages.

The question of a crisis has yet to be defined. America's thirst for fuel and electricity continues to grow and the administration's connections to the oil industry leaves it open to criticism that a crisis is being manufactured so that environmental protections are more easily set aside. To blunt these attacks, the administration should examine solutions from all angles.

They should include a push for renewable energy, such as solar power, which would ease dependence on fossil fuel. Bush's budget decreased allotments for research and development into such technology. In Hawaii, renewable energy took another hit when the state Legislature deferred an extension of tax credits for solar power installations. The credit expires in 2003.

When the administration presents its full energy program in a few weeks, Cheney hinted, it may include measures to promote energy efficiency, but the aim is "not austerity." He rejected the notion that Americans should "do more will less."

"Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue," the vice president said, "but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy." That may be debatable and ignores the sentiments that a clean environment is necessary to preserve.

Cheney would do well to recognize the difference between need and want and that an energy policy that does not embrace conservation limits the spectrum of solutions.

Holiday basketball
tourneys get a reprieve

The issue: The NCAA postpones
a decision on eliminating an incentive
for mainland colleges to hold holiday
basketball tournaments here.

MANAGERS of the NCAA posed a threat to universities in Hawaii that sponsored holiday basketball tournaments in early April when they recommended removal of a vital incentive for major mainland schools to participate.

The organization's board of directors has put the proposal on hold, perhaps in response to lobbying, expressions of outrage and lawsuits filed by two groups of tournament promoters. This will give state officials time to persuade college basketball powers to set aside their greed and let these popular events proceed.

This, in effect, is a reprieve for the 37-year-old Rainbow Classic, the Maui Invitational, the Alaska Shoot-Out and 29 other tournaments that has been achieved by media criticism, legal challenges and coaxing by Senator Inouye and others. However, as reported this week in a series of articles by the Star-Bulletin's Dave Reardon, Brandon Lee and Paul Arnett, the idea has not evaporated.

The incentive would allow a college basketball team to count three games played in a mid-season tournament in Hawaii, Alaska or Puerto Rico as one game applied to its 29-game season limit.

"We try to maximize the number of home games we play because it helps generate money that pays for other sports," says Marc Dellins, UCLA's associate athletic director. His explanation makes clear that money is what this is about, not the NCAA management council's avowed purposes of promoting a competitive balance among college basketball programs.

A recent rule limiting colleges to participate in only two tournaments every four years -- one every four in Hawaii -- may have solved a perceived problem of competitive balance, allowing greater access to teams other than college basketball's elite. The argument regarding academic pursuits is bogus; the eight-team tournaments occur during the Thanksgiving or Christmas vacations or, in the case of four-team tournaments, on weekends.

The NCAA board of directors has sent the proposal to eliminate the expanded version of the "Hawaii exemption" back to its management council for further study. The tournaments will be allowed to proceed undisturbed through the 2003-4 season.

Hawaii state officials made no visible effort to keep the Aloha and Oahu football bowls in Aloha Stadium, and those important tourist draws are destined for San Francisco and Seattle. The state has an opportunity now to save Hawaii's holiday basketball tournaments by lobbying officials from major universities that control the NCAA and perhaps negotiate changes to protect the events in Hawaii. This is no time to sit on the bench.

Published by Oahu Publications Inc., a subsidiary of Black Press.

Don Kendall, President

John Flanagan, publisher and editor in chief 529-4748;
Frank Bridgewater, managing editor 529-4791;
Michael Rovner,
assistant managing editor 529-4768;
Lucy Young-Oda, assistant managing editor 529-4762;

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