Monday, September 01, 2003
::: MORE on Cheney ::: The Energy Task Force :::
GAO: Cheney Hindered Probe OR "Momma, I just saw a BIG snake"
Congressional investigators say they were unable to determine how much the White House's energy policy was influenced by the oil industry because they were denied documents by Vice President Dick Cheney about his energy task force.
The Energy and Interior departments and the Environmental Protection Agency reviewed the GAO's report before it was released and chose not to comment. The vice president's office declined to look at it, the GAO said.
"As gas prices reach historic levels and the nation's energy infrastructure is pushed beyond its limits, the Bush administration has decided their energy policy will be of the special interests, by the special interests and for the special interests," Kerry said in a statement.
Said Graham: "If the Bush-Cheney team has nothing to hide, then why are they hiding documents? There can be only one answer — they don't want the American people to know just how much influence the big oil companies have over U.S. energy policy."
GAO Cites Corporate Shaping of Energy Plan
That didn't take long.....
The task force was one of Bush's highest priorities after his inauguration and was launched on his 10th day in office. None of the group's meetings was open to the public, and participants told GAO investigators they "could not recollect whether official rosters or minutes were kept," the report said.
After this month's blackouts crippled much of the Northeast and Midwest, GOP congressional leaders vowed to move swiftly after Labor Day on energy legislation that is based on Bush's policy and includes plans for shoring up the nation's electricity grid. The legislation has been stalled for more than two years; Democrats say that is because of Bush's insistence on tax breaks and other incentives for energy production, including oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The report provides Democrats with ammunition for their contention that Bush's energy policy is filled with favors for corporate interests. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.), who joined the request for the GAO probe when he was chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, said voters should know what role energy companies played in writing the policy. "They will never know the full truth because the White House chose to stonewall instead of cooperate with investigators," said Lieberman, a presidential candidate.
The vice president's office "stated that it would not provide any additional information," the investigators wrote. An unusually caustic GAO news release complained of the office's"persistent denial of access" to task force records
Judicial Watch and the Sierra Club are pursuing a separate legal battle for the energy records. A federal appeals court panel ruled last month that the groups could be entitled to documents from Cheney's staff. The Justice Department has asked the full appeals court to review the ruling
Hissssss. Stay Tuned ... more on pigs at the trough = corporate and judicial "snake watch."
Someone else is watching as well ... "Power to the People", says Dennis Kucinich.
Kucinich lays it on the line in a frightening example of the tradgey of deregulation ~~ FirstEnergy Corp and the battle for electric power in Ohio.
FirstEnergy tried without success to keep online a very troublesome nuclear power facility at Port Clinton, Ohio, the Davis-Besse plant. Davis-Besse is currently shut down and has been for some time. FirstEnergy and federal regulators failed to properly monitor the plant's operations; boric acid corroded the head of the reactor, threatening to breach the reactor vessel.
Millions of people in the Midwest and the water supply of the entire Great Lakes region were at risk because of First Energy's negligence, improper maintenance, and actual cover-up of the degradation of the reactor. Further, federal regulators decided that despite the danger to one of the largest populated areas of the United States, FirstEnergy's financial condition required the flawed reactor to continue operation. The regulators put profit ahead of public interest.
If there ever was an example of an unholy alliance between government and industry, this is it. If there ever was an example of the failure of necessary regulation by the government of an investor-owned utility, it is the government's failure to regulate FirstEnergy. Now, according to published reports, the blackout that affected an estimated 50 million people may have begun in the FirstEnergy system.
Read all about how Kucinich fought to keep Cleveland's Muny Light (providing power at 20%-30% savings) from being gobbled up by CEI, First Energy's predecessor, and how CEI went behind the scenes and kept Muny from getting power off the grid. Little Dennis started a civic campaign to save Muny Light, gathering signatures in the snow (no story, now), and became elected Mayor, vowing his first act would be to cancel the sale. It is a true tale of corporate wariors against the little guy.