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Congressional inaction on energy threatens consumers
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Congressional inaction on energy threatens consumers

BY By ALICE CLICK - guest columnist

Energy heats and cools our homes and fuels our transportation system. When the August blackout plunged millions of Americans into darkness, it became clear -- without necessary investments and without sound energy policies -- there is no guarantee that the lights will stay on. President Bush called the blackout "a wake-up call" to modernize the aging infrastructure of the nation’s power grid. The sudden loss of power serves as an important reminder that all energy -- not just electricity -- is critical to the American economy.

09/04/2003
Congressional inaction on energy threatens consumers
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Press Release

Congressional inaction on energy threatens consumers

This op-ed originally appeared in the West Virginia Herald-Dispatch on September 3, 2003. Energy heats and cools our homes and fuels our transportation system. When the August blackout plunged millions of Americans into darkness, it became clear -- without necessary investments and without sound energy policies -- there is no guarantee that the lights will stay on.

09/04/2003
A "Wake-Up Call" on Energy
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Press Release

A "Wake-Up Call" on Energy

From Detroit to New York, last week’s blackout plunged millions of Americans into darkness. President Bush said it was a wake-up call to modernize the aging infrastructure of the power grid. But the sudden loss of power serves as an important reminder that all energy—not just electricity—is critical to the American economy. Energy has been an abundant, low-priced resource that today many in America take for granted. As the blackout made clear, without the necessary investments and without sound energy policies, there is no guarantee that the lights will stay on.

08/20/2003
CSE Key Votes Cloture on S. 14, the “Energy Policy Act of 2003”
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Press Release

CSE Key Votes Cloture on S. 14, the “Energy Policy Act of 2003”

July 22, 2003 Dear Senator: On behalf of the 280,000 members of Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE), I urge you to vote YES on cloture on S. 14, the “Energy Policy Act of 2003.” While we are concerned with several elements of S. 14 as it is currently written, it does not appear that further debate by the full Senate will improve the bill. Indeed, our assessment of the pending amendments to S. 14 is that the vast majority constitute bad policy. That’s why CSE is urging a Yes vote to end debate and move the bill forward.

07/31/2003
This Week in Washington
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Press Release

This Week in Washington

Tempers grew short in the House of Representatives last week as Congress pushed hard on several fronts prior to August recess. The House is at home for the next month, and the Senate is wrapping up its business this week so senators can also return to their home states. It’s a race to recess, because there still is plenty of legislative business to be done. The pressing work on the Senate floor this week includes a massive energy security bill that has over 400 amendments under consideration, as well as votes on a number of President Bush's judicial nominees.

07/30/2003
Energy Security Principles
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Press Release

Energy Security Principles

July 29, 2003 Chairman James M. Inhofe Committee on Environment and Public Works U.S. Senate 410 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510-6175 Dear Chairman Inhofe:

07/29/2003
High Energy Solutions
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Press Release

High Energy Solutions

Recently, Alan Greenspan testified before Congress on growing concerns over natural gas supplies and the potential adverse effects of high energy prices on the recovery of the U.S. economy. Prices have edged upwards and Greenspan notes they are expected to remain high for a while. Some industrial demand has been priced out of the market, and it remains unclear whether this is a temporary phenomenon. The economic impact of energy prices offers a reminder of the importance of energy policy for a strong economy. Yet energy policy remains embroiled in politics, with the Senate struggling to finalize an energy bill that is dominated by special interests rather than economic growth.

07/23/2003
Exxon Mobil Holds Support
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Exxon Mobil Holds Support

BY Sudeep Reddy

Exxon Mobil Corp. shareholders overwhelmingly voted down each of a dozen resolutions presented Wednesday during an annual meeting marked by tight security and stricter controls on shareholder remarks. But several proposals - related to the environment and gay rights - gained votes over previous years, thanks to support from environmental groups and institutional shareholders. Exxon Mobil has maintained its challenge of scientific claims on global warming and the viability of renewable energy technologies that many of its major competitors have pursued. The world's largest publicly traded energy company has focused on fossil fuels, such as oil and natural gas, because wind and solar power are unlikely to exceed 1 percent of the world's energy supply by 2020, chairman and chief executive Lee Raymond said. "Our track record demonstrates that we know the difference between good and bad investments," Dr. Raymond told shareholders at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, during a meeting that lasted more than three hours. "We won't jump on the bandwagon just because others may have a different view," he said. "And we don't invest to make social statements at the expense of shareholder returns." Shareholder resolutions at public companies rarely garner a majority of votes, and the sponsors of several proposals said they were pleased by their returns. Show of support The most heavily pushed was a new resolution calling on the Irving-based oil company to prepare a more detailed report about how it plans to address financial risks from climate change. It received 22 percent of the 5.5 billion shares cast. A resolution calling for a report on renewable energy received 21 percent of the votes cast, up from 20.2 percent last year and 8 percent the year before. "Every increase is just moving the issue further into the public arena," said the Rev. Michael Crosby, corporate responsibility agent for the Midwest Capuchin Franciscans, who sponsored the renewable energy proposal. Remarks from throngs of shareholders have become a tradition for the Exxon Mobil annual meeting, which has long been a target of environment and human rights activists. On Wednesday, Dr. Raymond fielded more than 50 comments - most taking about two minutes each - for and against the proposals. Some shareholders objected to new meeting rules alternating the comments from supporters and opponents on each proposal, at separate microphones and monitored for time limits by a system of green, yellow and red lights. Critics said Exxon Mobil changed the procedure to give its supporters - including company-backed groups - more leverage. Dr. Raymond said it was designed to provide both sides of each issue. "I thought there was a new level of mockery for the shareholder process," said Sister Pat Daly of the Dominican Sisters of Caldwell, N.J., the lead filer on the climate change resolution. "The company spent a great deal of lobbying resources to try to diffuse support." The highest vote came for a resolution on an anti-takeover "poison pill" provision, which received 32.3 percent of the vote, down from 44.9 percent. A resolution to include sexual orientation in Exxon Mobil's anti-discrimination policies received 27.1 percent of the votes, up from 23.9 percent last year and 13 percent the year before. The two environment proposals and the nondiscrimination proposal gained greater support last year and this year in part from a recommendation by Institutional Shareholder Services Inc., an influential firm that advises corporate investors. But Exxon Mobil was unfazed by the increase. "The track that the company and the board are on is very consistent with where we've been and consistent with our views and philosophies," Dr. Raymond told reporters after the meeting. "There's nothing I've seen in the vote so far that would suggest that there should be a significant change." No tiger suits Shareholders at the meeting were greeted by an escalated police presence and tight security after 36 protesters from the environmental group Greenpeace - including some in tiger costumes - stormed Exxon Mobil's Irving headquarters Tuesday morning and disrupted operations there. A third of those arrested had posted bail by Wednesday afternoon, and the rest were awaiting arraignment, Irving police said. Exxon Mobil obtained a temporary restraining order Tuesday barring Greenpeace from interfering with its meeting. State District Judge Charles Stokes granted the order. With many Exxon Mobil critics away, the view outside the symphony center appeared more like a wild company celebration than a critique of its policies. Several dozen Exxon Mobil supporters marching on one side of the building entrance outnumbered environmental protesters on the other side. "We're sick and tired of the radical left agenda using our boardrooms to promote their own leftist agenda," said Peggy Venable, director of Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy, one of several groups countering the protesters. "What they're really trying to do is promote a one-world government," she said, referring to the Kyoto protocol on global warming. Dressed in "God Bless America" T-shirts and even a Statue of Liberty costume, the company supporters chanted, "We love free enterprise," "Show us the science" and "Go back to France." Referring to the controversial proposal to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which Exxon Mobil supports, they chanted: "Drill ANWR, lay pipe, keep the caribou warm."

05/29/2003
Next Enron wave: a flood of new rules
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Next Enron wave: a flood of new rules

BY Peter Grier

Washington's response to the collapse of Enron Corp. is moving gradually into a new phase: the search for ways to fix perceived problems revealed by one of the most spectacular bankruptcies of the century. President Bush's new plan for changing corporate rules, unveiled last week, is only one part of this movement. On Capitol Hill, legislators have introduced at least 30 bills that deal with one Enron-related subject or another, from retirement security to the relationship between accounting firms and their customers.

03/11/2003
GOP Groups Slam Bush on CO[2] Credits
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GOP Groups Slam Bush on CO[2] Credits

A bevy of conservative, Republican-oriented groups have sent the White House a letter objecting to the Bush administration s plan for transferable credits for companies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The letter, spearheaded by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, echoes an earlier, October 2002, letter warning against regulatory offsets for carbon reductions. Since then, notes the letter, Sens. John McCain(R-Ariz.) and Joe Lieberman(D-Conn.) have introduced their cap-and-trade greenhouse legislation, and the president has introduced his latest tax proposal, which includes increases in tax expensing of capital investments. The McCain-Lieberman legislation, says the letter, would have the same effect as an energy tax, with the greatest impacts on the poor and seniors. The letter warns that "early reductions" in the White House plan would have full value only if emissions are capped. Thus, companies that are interested in earning credits for early reductions "will gain incentives to lobby for the bill." On the other hand, the administration s approach to expensing "is a better way to speed up carbon intensity decline." The letter observes, "Your growth and jobs plan calls for increasing the small business expensing option from $25,000 to $75,000. This is a good first step, but we think the limits on expensing should be expanded even further, and extended to all capital investment." Expensing all capital investment, says the letter, would remove "the tax penalty on capital investment" and "would encourage more rapid turnover of plant and equipment. In general, state-of-the-art facilities are more productive than older units, delivering more output per unit of input, including energy inputs. Expensing would thus accelerate carbon intensity decline yet without building political support for energy rationing." Groups joining CEI in the letter were Citizens for a Sound Economy, National Taxpayers Union, American Association of Small Property Owners, American Conservative Union, Small Business Survival Committee, 60 Plus Association, Americans for Tax Reform, American Legislative Exchange Council, The Seniors Coalition, African American Republican Leadership Council, Citizens Against Government Waste, Consumer Alert, and Strategic Issues Research Institute.

02/03/2003

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