EIA's Politically Dictated “Garbage” Subsidy Report Obtained And Released Publicly

The Checks and Balances Project has obtained a copy of the controversial Energy Information Administration report that was called “garbage” by EIA Acting Administrator Howard Gruenspecht.  The polluter-friendly report was just delivered yesterday afternoon to the GOP House requesters, Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD). Checks and Balances provided a copy to DeSmogBlog, which we’re providing to the public here: “Direct Federal Financial Interventions and Subsidies in Energy in Fiscal Year 2010” [PDF].

Gabe Elsner, Deputy Director of the Checks and Balances Project, told DeSmogBlog that, “if it’s true that the Acting Administrator Gruenspecht called this report a “piece of garbage” he was right, because it deliberately leaves out the six other ways in which coal, oil and natural gas get government handouts.  The fossil fuel welfare tab is tens or hundreds of times greater than the cost of pro-renewable policy support.” 

Elsner says that this report is essentially a re-issue of the 2007 Alexander study that was designed to defend public welfare to the fossil fuel industry, such as oil and gas industry subsidies. The new EIA analysis fails to take into account the full range of subsidies at play in the energy sector, and therefore delivers a favorable analysis of fossil fuels over renewables.

By excluding a lot of the other avenues of direct federal support given disproportionately to fossil fuel interests, as well as financial tools designed to assist dirty energy companies, the report is just plain faulty, or “fuzzy math” as some guy once said.

Missing from the EIA calculations are a plethora of advantages the dirty energy industry enjoys over clean tech companies, including outsized direct subsidies for mature industries, publicly funded pollution cleanup assistance, cheap insurance, low interest federal loans, extensive tax breaks, and – most gut wrenching in the wake of Tim DeChristopher’s imprisonment – insanely cheap public lands leases for oil and gas drilling, as well as access to public lands and tax credits to build transmission lines.

On Monday, the Checks and Balances Project, Greenpeace US and Oil Change International plan to file this Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request [PDF] to the EIA seeking records of the meetings and communications between the EIA and the three GOP Congressmembers’ offices, as well as other materials used in compiling the report.

Stay tuned for updates to this post.


Marsha Blackburn Voted FOR:
Omnibus Appropriations, Special Education, Global AIDS Initiative, Job Training, Unemployment Benefits, Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations, Agriculture Appropriations, FY2004 Foreign Operations Appropriations, U.S.-Singapore Trade, U.S.-Chile Trade, Supplemental Spending for Iraq & Afghanistan, Flood Insurance Reauthorization , Prescription Drug Benefit, Child Nutrition Programs, Surface Transportation, Job Training and Worker Services, Agriculture Appropriations, Foreign Aid, Debt Limit Increase, Fiscal 2005 Omnibus Appropriations, Vocational/Technical Training, Supplemental Appropriations, UN “Reforms.” Patriot Act Reauthorization, CAFTA, Katrina Hurricane-relief Appropriations, Head Start Funding, Line-item Rescission, Oman Trade Agreement, Military Tribunals, Electronic Surveillance, Head Start Funding, COPS Funding, Funding the REAL ID Act (National ID), Foreign Intelligence Surveillance, Thought Crimes “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, Peru Free Trade Agreement, Economic Stimulus, Farm Bill (Veto Override), Warrantless Searches, Employee Verification Program, Body Imaging Screening, Patriot Act extension.

Marsha Blackburn Voted AGAINST:
Ban on UN Contributions, eliminate Millennium Challenge Account, WTO Withdrawal, UN Dues Decrease, Defunding the NAIS, Iran Military Operations defunding Iraq Troop Withdrawal, congress authorization of Iran Military Operations, Withdrawing U.S. Soldiers from Afghanistan.

Marsha Blackburn is my Congressman.
See her “blatantly unconstitutional” votes at :
http://mickeywhite.blogspot.com/2009/09/tn-congressman-marsha-blackburn-votes.html Mickey

I’m disappointed to see Bartlett engaging in this type of question begging deception. As a former academic and scientist – to use the term loosely – his position, as stated on the House floor, was to acknowledge global warming but emphasize market solutions. I hope this doesn’t signal that he’s been intimidated into changing his position, as many other Republicans have.

Despite the misinformation being propagated, a market-based solution is exactly what I and others would like to see implemented. The problem is that the definition of free markets has devolved into meaning laissez-faire capitalism, which doesn’t allow for the setting of incentives or disincentives to shape the behavior of business. More than that, it allows businesses to control government and create their own incentives for producing unsustainable energy sources along with substantial negative externalities.