Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New Action on Clean Energy, You Say? Release the Hounds!

It was a banner day for Americans interested in job creation, energy independence and a cleaner environment, with Sens. John Kerry and Barbara Boxer releasing the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act. Unsurprisingly, as momentum is clearly building in favor of comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation, the big wigs at Big Oil are "releasing the hounds" (to borrow a phrase from one of America's favorite television characters).

With the ink still wet on the Boxer-Kerry legislation, every one of Big Oil's attack dogs put out a statement As expected, Big Oil and its special interest allies in Washington are already letting fly with some real whoppers about the bill. Would you expect anything less from the folks who reap record profits while our nation remains hooked on the failed energy policies of the past?

Let's see what they're feeding these bad puppies to make them so fierce.

American Petroleum Institute. THE MONEY: As the primary lobbying group for Big Oil, API takes millions from oil giants ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco, Shell and others. BIGGEST FAIL: A leaked memo from API President Jack Gerard to member companies that reveals the company's so-called grassroots movement against clean energy for the sham that it is. To wit, the "grassroots" campaign is headed by "a highly experienced events management company that has produced successful rallies for presidential campaigns, corporations and interest groups."

ACCCE: THE MONEY: The coal industry's counterpart to API, the "American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity" is powered by more than $7 million in membership fees from dirty coal polluters. BIGGEST FAIL: A public relations disaster that ensued when it was revealed a lobbying company hired by ACCCE had forged 14 letters to members of Congress pretending to represent senior citizens, veterans, Hispanic groups and the NAACP in opposition to clean energy. Numerous member groups, including utility giant Duke Energy, bailed on the ACCCE following the revelations.

Chamber of Commerce: THE MONEY: By spending (over $40 million a year), the Chamber of Commerce is the biggest lobbying group in the country. It accepted more than $90 million in 2005 from a narrow swath of its elite corporate membership (the "President's Advisory Group"), which includes energy giants like ExxonMobil and others. BIGGEST FAIL: In an ill-advised stunt, the Chamber this summer called for a latter-day "Scopes-monkey" trial that would question the legitimacy of settled global warming science. An exodus of some of the Chamber's largest member energy companies ensued.


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