In Washington, D.C., money can buy power. Whether it comes in the form of lobbyists or direct campaign donations is irrelevant – it seems like every elected representative has a price. The more clever elected officials at least attempt to hide their loyalty to the industries that put them in office, but some seasoned veterans have quit trying altogether.
Such is the case with Republican Representative Doc Hastings from Washington State.
Hastings has received more than $380,000 in direct campaign contributions from the oil and gas industries, making them his second largest single industry donor. That is apparently the price needed for an industry hack like Hastings to drop all pretenses and be as transparent as possible about where his loyalties lie.
This week, Hastings added an amendment to the deceptively-titled Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act that would effectively cut in half the amount of federal money invested on renewable energy projects on federal lands.
The Hastings Amendment comes just a few months after the Interior Department announced that they would be expanding renewable energy projects on federal lands. From The Daily Beast:
The projects are as follows: The Midland Solar Energy project in Nevada, a 350-megawatt field (capable of supplying more than 100,000 homes), is to be developed by Boulder Solar Power. In Arizona, Quartzite Solar Energy, a subsidiary of California-based Solar Reserve, will develop the 100-megawatt Quartzsite Solar Project as a concentrating solar power plant. (In concentrating solar plants, panels reflect the sun’s rays into a central heating tower)
But the proposed projects will do more than make green enthusiasts happy—they will create many jobs. The department estimates that almost 1,000 construction jobs and 73 permanent jobs will be created from the plants.
Hastings believes that these projects and other renewable projects are a waste of money, and instead thinks that it is perfectly fine to open up federal lands for gas and oil drilling.
You have to assume that Hastings is blind to the irony of the fact that he’s added an amendment to cut both jobs and energy security to a bill that is designed to create jobs and solidify energy security. Clearly, Hastings was not elected to Congress because of his mental prowess.
The Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act was created by other political hacks who have taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from the dirty energy industry, and would impose a fee of $5,000 to any person or group wishing to challenge a drilling permit issued by the government.
But for a guy like Hastings, silencing the opposition by imposing exorbitant fines isn’t enough, so he decided to take it one step further by actively attacking the burgeoning renewable energy sector of the U.S. economy.
Green jobs are growing at a ratio of 4 to 1 compared to other job sectors, and green companies are slowly beginning to capture more and more of the market. The fossil fuel industry is scared, so they are calling on their political lackeys to do whatever it takes to hold renewable energy down.
Unfortunately, it appears to be working for them, at least for now.