Thursday, March 28, 2002
Back from New York, where I didn't hear Bush's red neck stuttering onceThe news upon my return from New York is intriguing, to say the least. Not suprising though. Is anyone really suprised that the people who paid to "elect" this guy got to write the energy policy? Is it suprising that the White House left out all the juicy stuff? In the Washington Post story about the energy documents that were (or were not) released, there was this about what should be included while meeting the Freedom of Information Act requests:
"Keep in mind that whatever I get I will have to include with it." Another e-mail about the FOIA requests asked, "Did you want me to include Kyle?" -- an apparent reference to Abraham's chief of staff, Kyle McSlarrow, whose e-mails were not included in the release."Are those shredders I hear over at Energy? Is Fawn Hall working for Kyle McSlarrow? And, ironically enough, Kyle McSlarrow has experience working for idiots. He was the national chairman for the Quayle 2000 Presidential campaign. Anyone suprised yet? Here's some more unsuprising stuff:
Large donors meeting with Abraham included Duke Energy, which contributed $61,500 in soft money, all to the GOP, according to figures kept by the Center for Responsive Politics. Constellation Energy gave $38,950, all to the GOP. Northeast Utilities contributed $43,580, all but $2,000 to the GOP. UtiliCorp United gave $66,000, all to the Republicans. American Coal Co. gave $20,500, all to the GOP. Kerr-McGee gave $240,350, all but $20,000 to Republicans. Exelon Corp. gave $454,305, 74 percent to the Republicans.Live it up, boys. Your time is almost over. A vast majority of people in this country are fed up with corporate run politics. You'll have to call out the army if you want to put a Junta like this in power again.
Wednesday, March 20, 2002
IRV would have allowed me to vote for Nader and Gore. I would have voted Nader in my #1 slot. If he didn't get enough votes to make a runoff, my vote would go to my #2 guy, Gore. And if Gore didn't get enough votes, then my #3 candidate would receive my vote. Republicans are scared of this system because it would allow the center-left coalition that is the natural majority in this country to rule, instead of having freakish election results where denying the right to vote to about ten ten thousand center-left voters in Florida puts a right-wing, AWOL, coke-head, oil-coated redneck into power.
Tuesday, March 19, 2002
Energy giants, including Southern Co., have poured millions of dollars into Republican political campaigns and a massive lobbying effort to stop the costly lawsuits filed during Clinton’s term. The chief lobbyist for a group of utilities is former Republican National Committee chairman Haley Barbour. Southern Co., a principal member of this group, contributed $540,000 to GOP organizations during the 2000 election.
Thomas R. Kuhn, president of Edison Electric Institute, the utilities’ trade association, was a college classmate of Bush’s and helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the president’s 2000 election. Kuhn attended three of the eight meetings that Deputy Energy Secretary Francis S. Blake held with outside groups to discuss how the administration would proceed on enforcement, according to a department document.
Sunday, March 17, 2002
Daschle and the Democrats managed to stop Pickering when they discovered, just before the committee vote, that he had tried to give a cross-burner less than the mandatory minimum sentance, and then tried to seal the record to cover up his crime. Pay back's a bitch, Senator Lott, and there's going to be plenty more for what you right-wing nuts did to Clinton's nominees. Maybe W, who didn't really spend any capitol on Pickering, got the message: Nominate moderates or they don't get in.
Thursday, March 14, 2002
Thursday, March 07, 2002
The obvious target of the new law [Executive Order 13233] is the Reagan papers. For more than a year, Reagan’s aides, backed up by the Bushies, have refused to release more than 68,000 pages they owe the nation under the 1978 law. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that former Reagan officials like Elliott Abrams, John Negroponte, Otto Reich, Colin Powell, budget director Mitch Daniels Jr. and Chief of Staff Andrew Card — to say nothing about the president’s own father — may be a bit uncomfortable about revealing the truth about decisions they took in office.
Army head’s Enron dealings queried
White held interest after he left company; senators pursuing
...White earlier this year released a list of 30 meetings and telephone contacts he has had with Enron executives since becoming Army secretary. At least one of those executives worked alongside White at Enron, and was part of the drive to win military contracts...So, in short, this guy holds onto his Enron stock while he's Secretary of the Army and he's winning contracts for Enron at the Pentagon. Anyone suprised? When will we arrest these crooks? Think if this were a Democratic administration the Republicans would be hysterically screaming for a special prosecutor? Think Jerry Falwell would be selling a tape? Think Trent Lott would be demanding arrests?
Wednesday, March 06, 2002
Arrest Bush and Cheney Now for Attempted Murder
In a related story (see resignation letter below) EPA enforcer Eric Schaeffer resigned in protest over Bush's environmental policies, saying the EPA is “fighting a White House that seems determined to weaken the rules we are trying to enforce.” I can put two and two together here. Pollution, particularly the particulate type put out by coal fired plants, causes lung cancer. The Bush administration is dismantling EPA rules to restrict pollution, and to actually allow more pollution of the particulate type that causes lung cancer. Therefore, the Bush administration is trying to give MORE people lung cancer. They claim they are loosening unnecessary regulation on industry in order to increase energy supplies. This is the kind of lie they should try on a jury while they defend themselves in court for murder charges. BUSH = POLLUTION. POLLUTION = CANCER. BUSH = CANCER. Very simple. Arrest Bush and Cheney now for attempted murder, before they kill any more Americans.
“It’s been almost five years and EPA has yet to issue the rules needed to implement its own health standards,” said ALA (American Lung Association) President John Kirkwood. “The scientific evidence keeps mounting. In the meantime, we are no closer to protecting people’s health because EPA has not acted.”
Sunday, March 03, 2002
"I will restore honor and integrity to the White House"
-- G.W. Bush
-- G.W. Bush
Bush is a liar, a cheat, and a scumbag. The Bushron White House is in cover up mode. The Asscroft Injustice Department sent a memo to the rest of the executive branch, which assures agencies that “when you carefully consider FOIA requests and decide to withhold records . . . you can be assured that the Department of Justice will defend your decisions.” Read this story: Bush view of secrecy stirs frustration : Battle over disclosure forms odd unity of right and left : By Ellen Nakashima of the Washington Post.
Saturday, March 02, 2002
New York Times story on Bushron Dirty Air and Energy Plans
Some of the points covered in this story:
In considering new rules for enforcing the Clean Air Act, a senior official at the Energy Department consulted 64 energy corporations and industry trade groups and only one environmental group...
- corporations whose industry representatives met with the Energy Department had contributed a total of $6.4 million to Mr. Bush and other Republican candidates since 1999. The energy corporations gave a total of $2 million to Democratic candidates over the same period
- 18 of the energy industry's top 25 financial contributors to the Republican Party advised Vice President Dick Cheney's national energy task force
Friday, March 01, 2002
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20004
Dear Ms. Whitman:
I resign today from the Environmental Protection Agency after twelve years of service, the last five as Director of the Office of Regulatory Enforcement. I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given, and leave with a deep admiration for the men and women of EPA who dedicate their lives to protecting the environment and the public health. Their faith in the Agency’s mission is an inspiring example to those who still believe that government should stand for the public interest.
But I cannot leave without sharing my frustration about the fate of our enforcement actions against power companies that have violated the Clean Air Act. Between November of 1999 and December of 2000, EPA filed lawsuits against 9 power companies for expanding their plants, without obtaining New Source Review permits and the up to date pollution controls required by law. The companies named in our lawsuits emit an incredible 5.0 million tons of sulfur dioxide every year (a quarter of the emissions in the entire country) as well as 2 million tons of nitrogen oxide.
As the scale of pollution from these coal-fired smokestacks is immense, so is the damage to public health. Data supplied to the Senate Environment Committee by EPA last year estimate the annual health bill from 7 million tons of SO2 and NO2: more than 10,800 premature deaths; at least 5,400 incidents of chronic bronchitis; more than 5,100 hospital emergency visits; and over 1.5 million lost work days. Add to that severe damage to our natural resources, as acid rain attacks soils and plants, and deposits nitrogen in the Chesapeake Bay and other critical bodies of water.
Fifteen months ago, it looked as though our lawsuits were going to shrink these dismal statistics, when EPA publicly announced agreements with Cinergy and Vepco to reduce Sox and Nox emissions by a combined 750,000 tons per year. Settlements already lodged with two other companies B TECO and PSE&G B will eventually take another quarter million tons of Nox and Sox out of the air annually. If we get similar results from the 9 companies with filed complaints, we are on track to reduce both pollutants by a combined 4.8 million tons per year. And that does not count the hundreds of thousands of additional tons that can be obtained from other companies with whom we have been negotiating.
Yet today, we seem about the snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. We are in the 9th month of a “90 day review” to reexamine the law, and fighting a White House that seems determined to weaken the rules we are trying to enforce. It is hard to know which is worse, the endless delay or the repeated leaks by energy industry lobbyists of draft rule changes that would undermine lawsuits already filed. At their heart, these proposals would turn narrow exemptions into larger loopholes that would allow old “grandfathered” plants to be continually rebuilt (and emissions to increase) without modern pollution controls.
Our negotiating position is weakened further by the Administration’s budget proposal to cut the civil enforcement program by more than 200 staff positions below the 2001 level. Already, we are unable to fill key staff positions, not only in air enforcement, but in other critical programs, and the proposed budget cuts would leave us desperately short of the resources needed to deal with the large, sophisticated corporate defendants we face. And it is completely unrealistic to expect underfunded state environmental programs, facing their own budget cuts, to take up the slack.
It is no longer possible to pretend that the ongoing debate with the White House and Department of Energy is not effecting our ability to negotiate settlements. Cinergy and Vepco have refused to sign the consent decrees they agreed to 15 months ago, hedging their bets while waiting for the Administration’s Clean Air Act reform proposals. Other companies with whom we were close to settlement have walked away from the table. The momentum we obtained with agreements announced earlier has stopped, and we have filed no new lawsuits against utility companies since this Administration took office. We obviously cannot settle cases with defendants who think we are still rewriting the law.
The arguments against sustaining our enforcement actions don’t hold up to scrutiny.
Were the complaints filed by the U.S. government based on conflicting or changing interpretations? The Justice Department doesn’t think so. Its review of our enforcement actions found EPA’s interpretation of the law to be reasonable and consistent. While the Justice Department has gamely insisted it will continue to prosecute existing cases, the confusion over where EPA is going with New Source Review has made settlement almost impossible, and protracted litigation inevitable.
What about the energy crisis? It stubbornly refuses to materialize, as experts predict a glut of power plants in some areas of the U.S. In any case, our settlements are flexible enough to provide for cleaner air while protecting consumers from rate shock.
The relative costs and benefits? EPA’s regulatory impact analyses, reviewed by OMB, quantify health and environmental benefits of $7,300 per ton of SO2 reduced at a cost of less than $1,000 per ton. These cases should be supported by anyone who thinks cost-benefit analysis is a serious tool for decision-making, not a political game.
Is the law too complicated to understand? Most of the projects our cases targeted involved big expansion projects that pushed emission increases many times over the limits allowed by law.
Should we try to fix the problem by passing a new law? Assuming the Administration’s bill survives a legislative odyssey in today’s evenly divided Congress, it will send us right back where we started with new rules to write, which will then be delayed by industry challenges, and with fewer emissions reductions than we can get by enforcing today’s law.
I believe you share the concerns I have expressed, and wish you well in your efforts to persuade the Administration to put our enforcement actions back on course. Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican and our greatest environmental President, said, “Compliance with the law is demanded as a right, not asked as a favor.” By showing that powerful utility interests are not exempt from that principle, you will prove to EPA’s staff that their faith in the Agency’s mission is not in vain. And you will leave the American public with an environmental victory that will be felt for generations to come.
Eric V. Schaeffer, Director
Office of Regulatory Enforcement