Tuesday, May 19, 2009

EEI Chief: Boucher’s Our “Staunch Ally”




He helped power polluters water down the Waxman climate bill…

But now they want even more.


It was only last week that the Washington Post quoted a spokesman for the Edison Electric Institute as saying the electric power lobby would support the watered-down climate bill sponsored by California Democrat Henry Waxman and Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/12/AR2009051203962.html?hpid=sec-politics

But now the truth is emerging. Even though EEI got much of what it wanted through campaign contributions and back-door lobbying, the power moguls want even more weakening changes to the compromise legislation.

“This bill includes significant improvements over the earlier draft, thanks to your hard work and the input of supporters on the Hill – including Rick Boucher (D-VA) who has been a staunch ally and advocate on many of our major issues in ongoing discussions with Chairmen Waxman and Markey,” EEI President Tom Kuhn noted in an email to member companies late yesterday afternoon. (See below.)

“However, much work still needs to be done,” said Kuhn.

“Attached is EEI’s statement on H.R. 2454, which we provided to Rep. Boucher today. Our goal was to be supportive of the process – including highlighting some significant improvements – while noting some key issues requiring further modification as the bill makes its way through the Congress.”

Kuhn brags that “Some of the notable changes from the March discussion draft [released by Waxman and Markey] include: 35% allowance allocations to the power sector; bonus allowances for CCS; allocations to support investments in clean vehicle manufacturing (including PHEVs) and infrastructure; and major improvements in the offsets, strategic allowance reserve, and citizen lawsuit provisions. This bill also moderates the RES/EERS mandate from 40% by 2025 to 20% by 2020, and moderates the 2020 ghg reduction cap slightly from 20% to 17%.”

In the letter referenced by Kuhn, EEI notes that “we do continue to have concerns with several key elements – including the very ambitious near and mid-term targets for greenhouse gas reductions and the short phase out of the allocation program.” It adds “we will be continuing to seek appropriate adjustments in these and other provisions.”

Boucher, of course, received more campaign cash from the electric power industry – more than $230,000 -- in the last election cycle than any other member of Congress except for John Dingell of Michigan. http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/recips.php?ind=E08&cycle=2008&recipdetail=H&mem=Y&sortorder=U

If anything, power industry spending on Boucher has ramped up this year. As we noted several weeks ago, Boucher has received campaign contributions in the first quarter of this year from EEI as well as a number of its leading coal-heavy companies, including Duke, AEP, Progress Energy, Xcel, Allegheny Energy, Alliant and Ameren. http://blogforcleanair.blogspot.com/2009/04/whos-trying-to-buy-swing-votes-in.html

No wonder Kuhn refers to Boucher as EEI’s “staunch ally and advocate.”

Here is the whole Kuhn email:

From: Tom Kuhn [mailto:tkuhn@eei.org]
Sent: Monday, May 18, 2009 5:41 PM
To: EEI.Member.Company.CEOs
Cc: ceoasst@ls.eei.org
Subject: Waxman/Markey Markup Begins

Attached is an EEI summary of the Waxman-Markey climate/energy legislation which was released last Friday and will be marked up in the Energy and Commerce Committee this week. Opening statements began today, and we expect a full week of debate over amendments. Chairman Waxman’s goal remains to report the bill from Committee before leaving for the Memorial Day recess.

This bill includes significant improvements over the earlier draft, thanks to your hard work and the input of supporters on the Hill – including Rick Boucher (D-VA) who has been a staunch ally and advocate on many of our major issues in ongoing discussions with Chairmen Waxman and Markey. Some of the notable changes from the March discussion draft include: 35% allowance allocations to the power sector; bonus allowances for CCS; allocations to support investments in clean vehicle manufacturing (including PHEVs) and infrastructure; and major improvements in the offsets, strategic allowance reserve, and citizen lawsuit provisions. This bill also moderates the RES/EERS mandate from 40% by 2025 to 20% by 2020, and moderates the 2020 ghg reduction cap slightly from 20% to 17%. However, much work still needs to be done.

Attached is EEI’s statement on H.R. 2454, which we provided to Rep. Boucher today. Our goal was to be supportive of the process – including highlighting some significant improvements – while noting some key issues requiring further modification as the bill makes its way through the Congress.

We should note that there have been some differences in understanding over the allocation numbers. To clarify, as currently structured, the electricity sector would get allocations representing 35% of a declining allowances budget from 2016 – once all the covered sectors are phased in – to 2025, with a phase-out by 2030. We receive proportionately more in the early years of the program (2012-2015).

As always, thank you for your dedication, hard work and counsel on this critical issue. We look forward to continuing to work with you and your staff on improvements to the bill as it progresses through the legislative process.

Please don’t hesitate to call if you have comments or questions.

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