Policy: Environment & Energy

Obama’s ‘friendly utility lobbyists’ and cap-and-trade

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Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney,Barack Obama,Harry Reid,EPA,Lobbying,Analysis,Energy and Environment,Electricity

President Obama and congressional Democrats have spent the past few years pretending to wage war against the special interests, while working with big-business lobbyists whose clients stood to profit from their big-government programs.

Emails among Obama appointees at the EPA paint this picture clearly, with green-energy lobbyists for multinational giant Siemens setting up meetings with EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, getting her private account, and applauding her climate policies.

Here’s another telling moment from those emails, made public through the Freedom of Information Act. It’s an email from Harry Reid staffer Chris Miller to EPA liaison to congress, David McIntosh:

From: “Miller, Chris (Reid)”
Sent: 01/06/2010 07:14 PM EST
To: David McIntosh
Subject: EPA not serious about ghg regs

Per a friendly utility lobbyist’s version , the EEI guys are out in California right now having some kind of annual confab. She says the word going around is that EPA (LPJ and Gina) is not going to be so difficult /hard on them in ghg regulation world (though they might be more worried about the coal ash /waste issue). So, no big deal if the Senate doesn’t move climate legislation.

Here’s a translation: The Senate in early 2010 was talking about pushing a climate bill. At the time, I pointed out that that Democrats’ climate legislation seemed to have a ton of big-business backers, and I argued that this was because the legislation would profit big businesses at the expense of everyone else.

A reply from defenders of the legislation and from Republican defenders of the businesses: The businesses are supporting Congressional action because they feared the alternative more, which was EPA acting on its own.

Of course, this argument ignored that Exelon and Calpine had both supported the argument that the EPA must regulate greenhouse gasses. Also, the emails show us Siemens’ lobbyists cheering Jackson for taking the lead on climate.

But this email shows us Reid staffer Miller telling EPA liaison McIntosh (who is now Siemens’ top lobbyist, btw) that “a friendly utility lobbyist” (friendly to Reid and his climate policies, presumably) is no longer too concerned about getting the Senate to pass climate legislation, because they think the EPA’s legislation will be fine for industry.

Who is that “friendly utility lobbyist”? We could guess he or she is from Florida Power & Light or Sempra, Reid’s biggest PAC donor from the industry — or Calpine, Duke Energy, or Edison, all of which supported Reid’s reelection that year and supported Democrats’ climate legislation.

Just a nice peak into how Obama’s war on special-interest lobbyists really works.

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