- October 7 - In its New York Times op-ed page advertisement today, TomPaine.com highlights some of the worst provisions of the $65 billion pending energy bill. It mentions the roles played by Louisiana Rep. Billy Tauzin and Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico in convening the closed-door meetings that are finalizing the legislation and the move by Missouri Sen. Kit Bond and Rep. Richard Burr of North Carolina to insert a provision easing the rules on the exportation of bomb-grade uranium.
This monument to greed includes more than $18 billion in new taxpayer giveaways for the oil, gas, coal and nuclear industries, according to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. If the bill passes, drilling operations of companies like Exxon and ChevronTexaco will become exempt from provisions of the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act. Plus, local taxpayers - not polluters like Shell Oil - will have to shoulder as much as $29 billion to clean up groundwater contaminated by the gasoline additive MTBE.
Nick Penniman, TomPaine.com's executive editor, said: "Energy executives have pumped more than $200 million into federal political campaign coffers in the past decade. Now it's payback time."
The ad calls for energy legislation that limits pollution, rebuilds the electricity grid and encourages a long-term shift away from dependence on foreign oil. It says that the current bill fails on all three counts.
Two years ago, a similar energy bill never saw the light of day, thanks to intense media scrutiny and public outcry. This year, as we face an enormous budget deficit and mounting bills for Iraq, history should repeat itself.
To view the ad, visit http://www.tompaine.com/op_ads/opad2.cfm/ID/9078 and read the accompanying articles on our Web site at http://www.tompaine.com.