DNC: Bush Renews Failed Renewable Energy Policy
Washington, D.C. - Today, President Bush will address the national renewable energy conference in St. Louis. Despite the White House's lofty rhetoric when it comes to renewable energy the fact is that America's dependence on foreign energy has increased under Bush's watch. The Bush Administration allowed their friends in the energy industry to write our nation's energy policy. Since then, America's working families have struggled to keep up with escalating gas prices.
"Despite the rhetoric, President Bush's energy policy is centered on doing what's good for his cronies in big oil rather than addressing the needs of hard-working Americans," said Democratic National Committee Press Secretary Stacie Paxton. "Why else would he have put his friends in big oil in charge of writing our nation's energy policy, a policy that has made us more dependent on foreign oil? Why else would he have gutted the national renewable energy lab rather than investing in renewable energy sources? Democrats are offering a new direction that includes reducing our dependency on foreign oil, and creating a robust domestic industry for alternative energy sources that will create jobs."
Bush's Record On Renewable Energy
Bush Pledged Renewable Energy Initiative After Gutting National Renewable Energy Lab. The day after President Bush pledged to end America's reliance on foreign oil by funding renewable energy initiatives, the Department of Energy announced that 40 researchers at the prestigious National Renewable Energy Laboratory were being laid off because Republican budget cuts had slashed $28 million from the lab's budget. "The Energy Department will begin laying off researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the next week or two because of cuts to its budget. A veteran researcher said the staff had been told that the cuts would be concentrated among researchers in wind and biomass, which includes ethanol. Those are two of the technologies that Mr. Bush cited on Tuesday night as holding the promise to replace part of the nation's oil imports." [New York Times, 2/2/06]
Bush's Failed Energy Policies Have Hurt America's Working Families
America's Dependence on Foreign Oil Has Increased. During the 2000 presidential campaign, Bush criticized the Clinton Administration for allowing U.S. imports on foreign oil to reach 56% of U.S. oil consumption. Five years after President Bush announced his energy plan, U.S. imports of foreign oil have risen to 65% of U.S. consumption. [House Government Reform Committee, Democratic Staff, 3/16/06]
American Families Are Spending Record Amounts for Energy - Nearly $2,000 More Per Family Than Five Years Ago. Five years ago, the average American family spent $3,300 on gasoline, home heating, and electricity. This year, the average American family will spend over $5,100 on gasoline, home heating, and electricity. This is an increase of nearly $2,000 per family. The indirect costs of higher energy prices in the form of higher prices for consumer goods and services are likely to cost families another $1,400 per year. [House Government Reform Committee, Democratic Staff, 3/16/06]
Bush White House Let Energy Industry Cronies Write Energy Plan
Energy Task Force Headed By Officials With Ties To Energy Industry. Bush stacked the energy task force with a number of officials with ties to the oil and energy industry. The head of the task force was Vice President Dick Cheney, who was the former chief executive officer of Halliburton, the oil services giant. Members include Commerce Secretary Don Evans, a former executive at Texas oil company Tom Brown; Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham who received almost half a million dollars in contributions from the oil and energy industry during his 2000 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Michigan; Interior Secretary Gale Norton, who received nearly $28,570 from the oil and gas companies for her 1996 run for U.S. Senate, the second largest total from any industry. [www.crp.org; New York Times, 1/30/01]
Enron Chief Ken Lay Gave Cheney a Memo That Called for Rejection of Price Caps; Memo Was Integrated Into Energy Plan. During a meeting between then-Enron CEO Kenneth Lay and Cheney in April 2001, Lay gave Cheney a memo that outlined some of Enron's positions on energy. Included in the Enron memo were notes on price caps negative impact on energy markets. "The administration should reject any attempt to re-regulate wholesale power markets by adopting price caps or returning to archaic methods of determining the cost-base of wholesale power," the memo said. "Events in California and in other parts of the country demonstrated that the benefits of competition have yet to be realized and have not yet reached consumers," the memo said. Cheney's energy plan advocated against price caps and calls for a bail out for energy consumers in California. [San Francisco Chronicle, 1/30/02]
* Enron CFO Fastow Sentenced To Six Years In Prison. "Andrew S. Fastow, the former chief financial officer of Enron, whose schemes to defraud the company made him a symbol of corporate corruption, was sentenced Tuesday to six years in prison for his role in Enron's collapse in 2001. ...Mr. Fastow is the highest-level executive to be sentenced so far in the Enron scandal. Two former executives, Timothy Despain and David W. Delainey, were sentenced earlier this month. ...Mr. Skilling's sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 23. Mr. Lay died of coronary artery disease in July, before he could be sentenced." [New York Times, 9/26/06]
Democrats Have A New Direction For America
Democrats Have A Plan To Create New Jobs, Expand Economic Growth And Make America Less Dependent On Foreign Energy. Democrats will promote an Apollo Project-like initiative to invest federal research and development dollars in advanced energy technology would create millions of new highly-skilled, high-wage jobs. Democrats want to develop a vibrant domestic biofuels and alternative fuels industry. A vibrant domestic biofuels and alternative fuels industry would create thousands of new jobs and stimulate investment in homegrown technologies. The small renewable fuel standard in law now will generate more than 200,000 jobs and displace more than $10 billion worth of crude oil. Improvements in infrastructure and electricity options and standards will also encourage much greater use of alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles. Democrats want to make energy more affordable for residential and manufacturing use. A national commitment to efficiency, renewably-generated electricity, and a massive investment in advanced energy technology would reduce consumers' electricity and fuel bills by more than $60 billion per year by 2020. Finally, extending energy efficiency and renewable incentives would lower the demand for natural gas and free up natural gas for other uses. Democrats are offering the American people a new direction when it comes to our national energy policy. [Senate Democrats]