Monday, May 11, 2009

The influence game: polluters write big checks on global warming

THE INFLUENCE GAME: Firms exact climate price

JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Utilities, steelmakers and oil industry lobbyists have tried to ease the pain of President Barack Obama's push to curb global warming, and they've gotten an early return on the millions of dollars they've spent influencing Congress.

Lawmakers determined to get a deal on climate change are going along with valuable concessions to polluters. It's part of the political trading necessary when powerful industries are involved.

The firms, many of which depend on coal , the biggest source of heat-trapping gases , hold heavy sway on Capitol Hill, where they have spent millions working to change policy and contributing to politicians' campaigns. They have a long history of halting environmental initiatives that threaten their profits, and their stance on the climate change measure , a key element of Obama's agenda , can't be ignored.

They'll accept a costly new "cap and trade" system that would set a ceiling on greenhouse gas emissions and essentially tax them, then allow companies to either reduce their pollution or buy credits from firms that have met the targets. But only if Congress makes it worth their while , by giving them at least some of those permits for free.

The companies, backed by many sympathetic lawmakers whose support will be crucial to a final agreement, say they're not looking to help themselves but instead trying to cushion the blow to their customers, workers and communities of complying with a costly new emissions limit.

"Utilities will end up paying a king's ransom to comply with this statute whether they are allocated credits or not," said Scott Segal, a lobbyist whose clients include power producers Duke Energy and Southern Company as well as oil refiners. "It's a way to give them the wherewithal to achieve the objective of the statute."

But some environmentalists portray the lobbying as legislative blackmail.

"They've basically said, 'You want to pass something? Write us a check,'" said Frank O'Donnell of Clean Air Watch. "They know that investing a few thousand bucks now (on lobbying and campaign donations) could mean literally tens of billions of dollars later."

The "check" would come in the form of free permits to emit greenhouse gases. The allowances would be hugely valuable in the cap and trade system, where firms would essentially buy and sell pollution permits to meet emissions limits.

More at http://www.philly.com/philly/wires/ap/news/nation/washington/congress/20090511_ap_theinfluencegamefirmsexactclimateprice.html

2 comments:

Barry La Rue said...

Dear Sir : I am one who firmly do not believes your lies !!!! History proves Frank Mc Donald Lies !!! The environmental issues you are trying to ram down the publics throat are lies . What you want to pass will cost the public tens of billions of dollars ! Tell the truth !!! The
Truth is that technology has not caught up to do what you want, cost effective .
I also do not believe in Global warming !!! Real scientist say we are heading into an ice age !! You people have done nothing but lie and every year or so come up with a new bunch of lies on some new disaster !
Nothing that anyone would ever come up with would ever suite you !!!
You have also caused far more harm that any good you may have done !
"They've basically said, 'You want to pass something? Write us a check,'" said Frank O'Donnell of Clean Air Watch. "They know that investing a few thousand bucks now (on lobbying and campaign donations) could mean literally tens of billions of dollars later."
So in Closing, Frank You are a Running a SCAM !!!!


PS have written my congressman and senator and told them if this passes buy their vote i will donate money to whoever runs against them !

L.L Norton said...

Well, this La Rue fellow is certainly an illiterate fool.