Energy Blues

As if the administration’s new energy bill isn’t disgraceful enough (“Another controversial issue is a House provision to protect major oil companies and gasoline refiners from lawsuits over MTBE, or methyl tertiary butyl ether, a gasoline additive that has contaminated drinking water in hundreds of communities.”), now the administration has designated Joseph Kelliher to chair the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the agency which controls the country's natural gas industry, hydroelectric projects, electric utilities, and oil pipelines, and has played a critical role in the deregulation of those industries.
President Bush had previously picked Rebecca Klein, the former Republican head of the Texas Public Utilities Commission and a close friend of the president, to chair FERC but red flags were raised recently during a routine FBI background check on Klein which forced the president to choose a new chairman at the last minute. The White House would not comment on the FBI’s probe on Klein. Klein did not return numerous calls for comment.

Still, news of Kelliher’s appointment to chair FERC came late Wednesday as a welcome surprise to many industry lobbyists and energy executives who view him as a staunch supporter of the free-market principles of deregulation and an advocate for eliminating regulatory restrictions that interferes with the free-market, despite the fact those rules are in place to protect consumers from energy price gouging and market manipulation that took place prior to the Enron scandal four years ago and, to some extent, is still somewhat routine in various parts of the country.

However, what’s most troubling about Kelliher’s appointment to head FERC, a role in which his main priority will now be to protect consumers from the manipulative tactics of the very industry he enjoys a cozy relationship with, is the relentless lobbying of bigwigs in the energy industry in early 2001, as a member of Vice President Dick Cheney’s energy task force, to help write President Bush’s National Energy Policy in such a way that would be financially beneficial to energy corporations—at the expense of consumers.
One of those bigwigs whose ideas for our national energy policy he solicited: Stephen Craig Sayle, an Enron Corp. lobbyist, who was the brain child behind market-based emissions trading, which found its way into the administration’s national energy policy.

Funny how the White House Personnel Announcement doesn’t mention that part of his résumé.

I believe I can say with some certainty, though, that if a reporter happened to question the administration about this decision (oh, ho ho ho—how I do make myself laugh with such preposterous hypotheticals!), the administration would assure us that suggesting this appointment might reflect poorly on their assertions that they are stewards of the environment, as opposed to soulless favor farmers, constantly dumping ever more egregious amounts of slop into the trough at which feed the corporate pigs who will richly reward them in their post-White House repose, is pure partisan nonsense, and that Mr. Kelliher will do a fine, fine job on behalf of the American people. So we can all breathe easy.

At least for awhile.

*cough cough*

(Hat tip Freiheit und Wissen, who’s doing a blog round-up of anyone writing on this one, so if you do, leave him a comment or a trackback.)

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus