DeLay, Energy And Secrecy

Alexandra Walker

July 28, 2005

Why would Republicans working on the energy bill in conference sneak in a provision that gives a "consortium" conveniently located in Tom DeLay's district control of a billion-dollar handout to big oil? Because they'd never get away with it had the measure been subjected to a vote. According to a letter from Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., this secretly inserted and obscenely costly provision is a "serious abuse" and "should be deleted" before the final energy bill is brought to the House floor.

Even President Bush's own energy secretary, Samuel Bodman, conceded yesterday that the energy bill gives too much money to industry. About the $3 billion in tax breaks and incentives in the bill, Bodman said that oil and gas companies "don't need incentives with oil and gas prices being what they are today." And Bodman was commenting only on the provisions that were inserted in the clear light of day, not those added after all discussion of the legislation had officially been closed.

The provision that Waxman describes as having been "mysteriously inserted in the final energy legislation" bears all the hallmarks of the unscrupulousness that has dogged House Republicans in this Congress. Some details from Waxman's letter :

* The provision establishes a $1.5 billion fund which is not subject to the normal congresssional appropriations process.

* The provision "apppears to steer the administration of 75% of the $1.5 billion fund to a private consortium located in the district of Majority Leader Tom DeLay."

* The "leading contender for this contract appears to be the Research Partnership to Secure Energy fo America (RPSEA) consortium, housed in the Texas Energy Center in Sugar Land, Texas." Guess what notorious company belongs to this consortium? Halliburton.

The energy bill is so loaded with industry subsidies that it's a wonder Republicans would feel the need to sneak in more pork. But the public trough is open and if Waxman's charges are substantiated, greed rules the day.

UPDATE: The Campaign for America's Future just posted an alert encouraging the Senate to delay any action on the energy bill until this provision is removed. Click here  to learn more.