Consumers Win with Congressional Rejection of Energy Bill

Nov. 13, 2002

Consumers Win with Congressional Rejection of Energy Bill

Statement of Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook

Consumers won a big victory today when congressional conferees wisely decided to abandon the retrograde energy bill. This legislation was based on Bush administration proposals that were plotted in secret with Enron executives and other energy lobbyists. It would have wasted billions of taxpayer dollars in handouts to nuclear, coal and oil companies, including some of the wealthiest corporations in the world.

The legislation included provisions to repeal vital electricity consumer protections as a reward for campaign contributions from energy companies, many of which are under investigation by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and other agencies for rigging California’s deregulated energy market and costing consumers billions of dollars.

The failure to pass this legislation also means that Congress has failed to reauthorize the Price-Anderson Act, which would subsidize new nuclear power plants by making taxpayers responsible for nuclear catastrophes. Finally, the bill did nothing to address America’s dependence on foreign oil, such as addressing consumption or efficiency.

We hope that if the 108th Congress revisits energy policy, lawmakers will address the real needs of Americans and the environment rather than simply caving in to the demands of greedy energy executives who have proven over the past few years that do not have the best interests of consumers at heart.

###