While we have high hopes that the newly empowered Republican Members of Congress will make every effort to fight the socialization of America, we are also aware that the GOP has an ignominious history of wimping- and/or selling-out, especially on environmental issues. Wimp & Sellout Watch is GreenHellBlog’s effort to spotlight the GOP’s weak links because:
In the 112th Congress, it should take more courage for GOP-ers to retreat than to advance.
Today’s update on potential wimps and sellouts to watch:
Rep. Fred Upton. As former Reagan administration official Herbert E. Meyer pointed out, “personnel is policy”:
“Back in the Reagan Administration, we had a saying that always drew sneers from the press and from the Washington establishment: “Personnel is policy.” What we meant, of course, is that to execute the President’s policies it was necessary to hire officials who supported these policies, and who would work to achieve the President’s objectives rather than to undermine them.”
Toward that end, the new chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee has made a worrisome choice.
Greenwire reported yesterday that Upton appointed one Michael Bloomquist to be deputy general counsel to the Committee. Bloomquist’s prior employment was with Wiley Rein, a lobbying firm. Click here to view a sample lobbying report.
One of Bloomquist’s clients was America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA), which Wiley Rein billed what looks to be about $360,000 during 2009-2010 for work on climate and renewable energy legislation. Although you might think that all fossil fuel companies would oppose legislation that demonizes and targets its unavoidable carbon emissions, ANGA thinks differently:
- Although ANGA was unhappy with the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, its beef was that the bill didn’t sufficiently penalize coal users.
- ANGA sucked up to Sens. Kerry and Boxer because they were more open to “promot[ing] natural gas as part of the climate solution.”
- Ahead of the 2009 IPCC conference in Copenhagen, ANGA observed, “If policymakers in our nation’s Capital are serious about addressing climate change, they should encourage the increased use of… natural gas.”
- ANGA was supportive but thought the Kerry-Graham-Lieberman bill inadequate;
- ANGA cheered President Obama for pledging to reduce the federal government’s carbon footprint by 28 percent by 2020;
- Last Earth Day, ANGA promoted “Clean Natural Gas for a Greener World Now.”
- After Sen. Lindsey Graham bailed out of the Kerry-Graham-Lieberman bill, ANGA continued to support the efforts of Sens. Kerry and Lieberman.
You probably get the idea by now — ANGA badly wants climate legislation, which it views as increasing the demand for natural gas, and Bloomquist was advocating on ANGA’s behalf.
Now Bloomquist is working for Upton, who Republicans are relying on to end EPA regulation of greenhouse gases. There can be no doubt that Bloomquist’s former employer hopes Upton fails — and perhaps (certainly?) will lobbying toward that end. Then if (when?) President Obama designates natural gas as best available control technology (BACT) for electric power generation, ANGA will have succeeded beyond its wildest dreams as coal-fired power plants will then be forced to switch to natural gas on whatever schedule the EPA orders.
Also consider that ANGA recently hired Tom Hassenboehler as a vice president of policy development and legislative affairs (aka a lobbyist). Hassenboehler spent “nearly a decade on Capitol Hill, serving as Minority Counsel to the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, and as Counsel on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. In these roles, he helped develop floor strategies for the consideration of several key energy and environmental bills.”
ANGA aims to ensnarl America in greenhouse gas regulation in hopes of elevating depressed natural gas prices. Its former lobbyist now works for the wobbly Fred Upton. It has hired a key Republican Hill staffer.
Does personnel = policy? We’ll be watching.
Don’t forget to check out previous editions of Wimp & Sellout Watch: