More Lies from the Bush Administration
My letter to the NY Times editor, in response to Christie Whitman's
To the Editor:
Resident Bush's energy policy is all about rewarding his rich buddies in the oil, coal, and natural gas industries. His plan stresses energy supply, not conservation or alternative energy. Dick Cheney actually said that conservation was only a personal virtue and couldn't do anything to help the problem. In California, record conservation has solved the states energy woes, and conservation is the one source of energy that creates absolutely no pollution. Californians have proven the Vice Resident wrong. This administration would rather pollute, drill, and pillage our way to energy independence. Alternative means of energy production do absolutely nothing to help the large corporations that were so instrumental in raising the $150 million dollars it took to get Bush "elected."
Plenty of news organizations, including the NY Times, have pointed out repeatedly that every environmental organization has criticized the energy plan that was cooked up by Dick Cheney in secret meetings with Ken Lay of Enron, among others. Ms. Whitman didn't mention that this administration, which has stressed that government should be transparent, has refused to turn over documents about Cheney's secret energy meetings with energy executives who we now know were cashing out for millions of dollars just before Enron collapsed, stealing the retirement savings of employees and other stock holders who weren't privy to the insider info that the executives used to get rich.
Ms. Whitman failed to point out that the alternative energy plans in Bush's energy doctrine are dwarfed by the big payoffs to huge energy conglomerates. Tax cuts and credits to these big polluters used up the majority of the funding called for in the Bush plan, which is yet another pay-out to the ultra rich. Ms. Whitman also fails to mention that research and development funding for alternative energy plans actually face severe cutbacks*. She also fails to mention that Bush's history in Texas is a far cry from environmentally compassionate. Our most polluted state got that way because Bush removed regulatory constraints from polluters while he was Governor. Ms. Whitman mentions an expansion of the Energy Star program, but that expansion is dwarfed by the proposed cuts elsewhere in the energy plan, and in the Resident's budget**.
Ms. Whitman has found herself smothered by the politics of an administration that is far to her right. Rather than try to support a plan that Ken Lay had more to do with crafting than she did, she should just keep her mouth shut. Her defense rings as hollow as the plan she's trying to defend.
* "Despite glowing prose in the report for renewables, the proposed Bush budget includes significant research funding cutbacks. Many programs, particularly in solar, wind, and building efficiency, have seen budgets sliced 40 percent to 60 percent. Unless funding is restored during Congressional budget negotiations -- and there is considerable support for it on the Hill -- renewables and efficiency R&D budgets stand to lose $100 million."
** "In addition, the plan's calls for an increased focus on renewable and alternative energy technologies is undermined by the administration's recently released 2002 budget proposal, which cuts Department of Energy funding for renewable and alternative energy sources by 37 percent. Solar research funding would be cut by nearly 54 percent, while geothermal, hydrogen and wind research programs would all be cut by 48 percent. Funding to encourage the building of energy-efficient homes and offices and to reduce energy use at steel, glass, pulp and paper and refining companies would also be reduced under the budget proposal."
Bush's Energy Strategy
To the Editor:
I applaud Thomas L. Friedman's call for energy independence based on renewable resources, domestic production and energy efficiency (column, Jan. 2). Last May, President Bush unveiled his National Energy Plan, which laid out the proposals that Mr. Friedman calls for.
At the Environmental Protection Agency, we have been involved in many of those initiatives, including an aggressive expansion of the Energy Star program to promote energy efficiency and a commitment to alternative and renewable sources, like biomass, wind and solar power. In addition, President Bush called for environmentally responsible exploration of additional domestic sources for our energy mix.
The purpose of this energy plan is to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and increase our energy security for the future, all the while protecting our environment. Mr. Friedman was correct in highlighting this important national priority, just a little bit late.
CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN
Environmental Protection Agency
Washington, Jan. 3, 2002