The holiday season has officially kicked off for consumers, with massive sales and discounts being advertised in all forms of media. But the U.S. House of Representatives doesn’t have to fight the crowds to find the perfect gift for the dirty energy industry – they believe that the best gift is the one you make yourself.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently released a report detailing the many ways in which expanded oil exploration and drilling in federally protected areas would not yield an overall economic benefit for the United States. The CBO report says that the revenue generated by these operations would take too long to come to fruition, and that our current areas of drilling are where the real money is in this situation.
But the dirty energy industry will never go down without a fight, so they had their friends at the Institute for Energy Research (IER) fund a study that showed that the CBO was way off the mark with their estimates. IER has received funding from both Exxon and Koch Industries.
In an attempt to paint President Obama as bad for the U.S. economy, the Heritage Foundation recently released a list of the top ten ways in which the President’s energy policies are 'destroying' both the economy and our domestic energy production.
The list contains numerous falsehoods coupled with half-truths and out of context information. When taken at face value, they give conservatives plenty to salivate over in the short time before the national election. But those of us who have been paying attention can easily conclude that the statements made by Heritage have no basis in reality.
Before diving into the list, it is important to remember that Heritage has received millions of dollars from the dirty energy industry over the years, including such noted players as Exxon Mobil and Koch Industries. They are also a hub for many prominent climate change skeptics.
Here’s Heritage’s list of Obama’s attacks against the energy economy, each one followed by the reality behind the situation:
In late March, Senate Republicans torpedoed an effort by Democrats to repeal the $4 billion a year that is flowing to the oil companies in the form of subsidies. The Obama Administration had proposed ending the subsidies so that this unnecessary money for the oil industry could instead be directed towards renewable energy projects and emission reduction in the United States. But in Washington, big oil has paid off the right people and organizations to make sure that their subsidies and tax breaks never disappear.
One organization that is flush with cash from the oil industry is the Institute for Energy Research (IER.) While their name might have you believe otherwise, the group is little more than an industry-funded propaganda machine, hell-bent on insuring that the desires of the dirty energy industry continue to be fulfilled within the halls of Congress. “Energy research” has almost nothing to do with the group’s activities.
Last week, after the Senate’s vote to block the subsidy repeal, IER compiled a report attempting to dissect and disprove the Administration’s proposal, point by point. But like most information put out by these corporate-funded think tanks, IER’s analysis is riddled with falsehoods and inaccurate information.
This week, the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives sent a strong message to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – they’re not concerned about climate change. The NOAA had asked Congress for permission to create a new National Climate Service within the NOAA’s own offices, but Congress decided that the agency was just fine the way it is.
At a time when Congress is fiercely debating federal spending, it would seemingly make financial sense to deny additional funding to NOAA to create their new branch. But, in a rare occurrence on Capitol Hill, the new agency wouldn’t have cost anything, and NOAA didn’t ask for a single dime to fund their new venture, completely nullifying any financial argument against this common sense proposal.
The need for such an agency is completely justified, as The Washington Post points out:
Congress barred NOAA from launching what the agency bills as a “one-stop shop” for climate information.
Demand for such data is skyrocketing, NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco told Congress earlier this year. Farmers are wondering when to plant. Urban planners want to know whether groundwater will stop flowing under subdivisions. Insurance companies need climate data to help them set rates.
So if it wasn’t about money, then what would stop congressional Republicans from giving the OK to the organization? To put it bluntly, they don’t want scientists 'scaring' people with their creepy climate change mumbo jumbo.
When polluters needs someone to write an industry-friendly article, or make an appearance in the media to argue against the science of climate change, they often turn to a man named Marlo Lewis. A senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), Marlo has been on the front lines of the energy industry’s war on science, as well as the fight against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the battle over the Keystone XL tar sans pipeline.
What makes Marlo a valuable asset is that he actually has a great resume. He received a Ph.D. in government from Harvard – a daunting and admirable task that commands respect. He’s also served in various governmental positions, including a brief stint in the Reagan administration, bolstering his credentials among elected officials in Washington, D.C. His position at the CEI also allows him a great deal of influence over our elected officials (it also happens to pay him a $100,000 a year salary for his work.) These credentials allowed him access to Congress a few years ago, when he was permitted to give a rebuttal to Al Gore’s film “An Inconvenient Truth” to the assembly. Marlo was also allowed to tout the “dangers” of the Kyoto Protocol to Congress in 1998.
But Marlo’s resume does not qualify him as an expert on anything climate or science related. In fact, if you look just below the surface, it becomes starkly apparent that he is just another energy industry crony who is paid to deny that fossil fuel pollution causes problems.