EIA Head Objected to Politically Dictated “Garbage” Subsidy Report, But Delivers it Anyway

Brendan DeMelle DeSmog
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Stephen Lacey from ClimateProgress on Tuesday detailed a letter sent to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) by three GOP House members asking the EIA to use loaded assumptions in running its models to show that fossil fuels are a better taxpayer investment than renewable energy sources.

These members, each of whom has received campaign funding from fossil fuel interests, essentially requested a report designed to suggest that renewables get huge public subsidies (they don’t) and that government handouts to fossil fuels and nuclear energy are a better deal for taxpayers (they aren’t). It was a blatant attempt to defend oil industry subsidies, and it put EIA in the unenviable position of lending its credibility to the talking points used by the oil, gas and coal industries.
 
Lacey reported that in a rare moment of sanity in Washington, the report was halted before it was turned over to the GOP requestors. Lacey’s report says that EIA cited “quality assurance” concerns, and would revisit the report to ensure it gives a “full picture,” accurate account of energy subsidies, not a politically driven result.
 
But “quality assurance” was the kindest way to portray what really happened.
 
DeSmogBlog has learned from sources familiar with the report’s fate that Howard Gruenspecht, Acting Administrator of the EIA, “hit the roof” when he learned about the assumptions the members had insisted the EIA use to draft the report.  Gruenspecht reportedly called it “garbage” and reminded staffers within earshot that the EIA was a government agency that was supposed to do impartial analysis, “not provide talking points to members of Congress.” Gruenspecht then called a meeting early the following morning at which the decision was made to halt distribution of the report and not give it to the requestors on the due date.

As of this writing, however, DeSmogBlog has learned that the EIA has reversed itself, providing the report to the three Republican House members.

Brendan DeMelle DeSmog
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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