May 2, 2001
Industry Group Formed to Push Bush-Cheney Dirty Energy Agenda Threatens to Chill Conservation, Alternative Sources
Statement of Wenonah Hauter, Director, Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program
A new industry lobbying group announced Wednesday to promote the Bush-Cheney energy policy is nothing more than a collection of the same old faces pushing the same backward energy agenda that has led to dirty air, climate change, energy shortages and dependence on foreign oil.
The new group — the Alliance for Energy and Economic Growth (AEEG) — is composed of the Nuclear Energy Institute, the Edison Electric Institute, the American Petroleum Institute and other associations that have spent millions in campaign contributions to purchase congressional influence and executive branch access. These industries are interested only in increasing their short-term profits at the expense of consumers and the global environment. We have already seen how the current energy has resulted in massive windfall profits to these industries.
The Bush-Cheney agenda and that of the energy industries are one and the same. With six-figure support from its members, the AEEG will finance an advertising and public relations blitz to promote its members’ interests: increased oil drilling on public lands, accelerated power plant construction, the rollback and repeal of public health laws, and the expansion of nuclear power.
This supply-side agenda will only guarantee more price volatility, more pollution and a continuing safety threat from nuclear reactors and the tons of highly radioactive waste they generate. On the other hand, enacting comprehensive conservation measures that use existing technologies would reduce electricity demand by 24 percent by 2020. It is foolish for the Bush administration to sell out our environment while efficiency measures and clean energy sources hold such promise.
Conservation efforts do not involve sacrifice but rather a deft use of existing efficiency technologies. America’s energy policy must stop serving the oil, mining and power-production industries who enjoy record profits during times of an alleged “crisis.” It should begin to promote new and existing technologies that increase efficiency and rely on renewable energy.