Senators Meet With Polluter Lobbyists To Discuss 'Green Economy’ Bill

Senators Meet With Polluter Lobbyists To Discuss 'Green Economy’ Bill
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Senators working to craft legislation to transition the U.S. economy to cleaner energy and provide green jobs for Americans have a critical task ahead of them.  The U.S. economy is lagging due to an addiction to foreign sources of dirty energy, among other reasons.  Leaders from government, the private sector and even the Pentagon acknowledge the need to move rapidly towards a clean energy future that provides good-paying jobs that can’t be outsourced. 

Which begs the question: Why are the Senators working on this critical legislative effort spending so much time and energy negotiating with lobbyists for the dirty energy industry – the very sector that is largely responsible for our addiction to foreign oil and filthy coal and outsourced jobs?

Senators Kerry, Graham and Lieberman – who are spearheading the new green economy legislation – met today with a gaggle of lobbyists and front groups representing the carbon club.

E&E News reports that:
A cross section of industry power players met this afternoon in the Capitol with Kerry, Graham and Lieberman. Groups represented at the meeting included the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Petroleum Institute, Edison Electric Institute, Nuclear Energy Institute, National Association of Manufacturers, Farm Bureau, American Forest and Paper Association, American Railroads, National Electric Manufacturers Association and Portland Cement Association.

What could these lobbyists and Astroturfers for dirty energy corporations that deny the threat of climate change possibly have to offer in this conversation about how to move towards a clean energy future that will provide millions of jobs and secure our economy? 

The Wonk Room reports:

half of the lobbyist groups mentioned are legally challenging the threat of manmade climate change, with court petitions against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas endangerment finding:

– The Portland Cement Association, which has filed suit despite supposedly recognizing the need to reduce global warming pollution

– The American Petroleum Institute, which intends to blame climate policy for higher gas prices at every gas station in America

– The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has repeatedly questioned climate science

– The National Association of Manufacturers, which claims climate legislation is “anti-jobs, anti-energy

– The American Farm Bureau Federation, which argues there is global cooling

One has to wonder how productive it can be to negotiate with polluters who deny the scientific reality of global warming.

Yes, one has to wonder.  Particularly ‘ones’ named Kerry, Graham and Lieberman.

Too late.  The dirty industry lobbyists thought the talks were “extraordinarily productive” and “encouraging.”

John Shaw, the senior vice president of the Portland Cement Association, said:

    “It was an extraordinarily productive meeting. I think it was unprecedented for three senators, arguably each from a different political background, if you will, to sit down at a table and invite leaders from all different sectors, to try to create another level of dialogue. They want to start delving into the details, and creating those details with greater industry input than we’ve seen in the past.

“Greater industry input” than in the past?  Did Mr. Shaw’s invitation to participate in the Bush/Cheney Energy Task Force get lost in the mail?  Where has he been the past decade when the Bush White House essentially had oil and coal executives on speed dial?

Tom Kuhn, president of Edison Electric Institute (EEI), told reporters:

    “It was a positive, encouraging discussion. I think they want to try and find ways to make things work from the standpoint of all the participants in that room, from the standpoint of the industrials and the oil companies.

Yes, the oil companies sure have had it tough these days, what with Exxon Mobil’s slump, merely posting profits of $19 Billion last year after its record-obliterating $45.2 Billion profit in 2008. 

‘One’ can imagine what kind of ‘green economy’ bill will emerge from negotiations with this crew.  Perhaps some more ‘green’ corporate welfare subsidies and tax cuts for oil companies?

Sorry if I sound cynical today.  I must be a “hydrocarbon denier” too.

Senators Meet With Polluter Lobbyists To Discuss 'Green Economy’ Bill
Brendan is Executive Director of DeSmog. He is also a freelance writer and researcher specializing in media, politics, climate change and energy. His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, The Huffington Post, Grist, The Washington Times and other outlets.

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