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More Than 100 Public Interest and Environmental Groups Urge Congress to Reject Energy Bill

Nov. 8, 2002

More Than 100 Public Interest and Environmental Groups Urge Congress to Reject Energy Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – More than 100 environmental, public interest and consumer organizations from 32 states sent a letter to Congress today urging lawmakers to reject the pending energy bill. Last year, the House passed a pro-corporate energy bill and the Senate followed suit, but the legislation has been held up in conference committee due mainly to the objections of Senate Democrats to certain damaging provisions, including oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the repeal of important consumer protections within the electricity market.

It is unclear whether energy conferees will attempt to hammer out a final bill in the lame-duck session scheduled to begin next Tuesday. The broad coalition of environmental and public interest organizations endorsing today’s letter urged lawmakers to abandon the legislation. Click here to view the letter and list of 103 organizations signers.

“While H.R. 4 is packed with numerous incentives for destructive polluters, it does virtually nothing to advance conservation and efficiency in this country, or meaningfully promote safe, clean and affordable renewable energies,” the groups wrote. “Do not give billions of dollars to the oil, nuclear, and coal industries at the expense of your constituents’ health, safety and tax dollars. We urge you to defeat the energy bill.”

With the Republicans now in control of the Senate, House and White House, the 108th Congress is expected to return next year to the issue of comprehensive energy legislation, likely pushing a package that will largely resemble the controversial Bush-Cheney National Energy Policy crafted in May 2001. Promoting increased fossil fuel and nuclear generation, as well as the further deregulation of electricity markets, such a bill could spell disaster for consumers and the environment. Energy companies contributed heavily to election campaigns this cycle, with the nuclear industry alone doling out more than $5 million to candidates, according to a Public Citizen analysis.

“Polluting energy industries have set themselves up to wield considerable influence in the 108th Congress,” said Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook. “But Americans who are committed to safe, sustainable and affordable energy policy will stand together to oppose polluter pay-out energy legislation and hold politicians accountable for policies that protect the corporate interests that bankrolled their campaigns rather than consumers.”