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Data Shows Industry had Extensive Access to Cheney's Energy Task Force
Industry Outnumbered Non-Industry Contacts 25 to 1
WASHINGTON, DC (May 21, 2002) -- A close examination of more than 12,000 pages of documents provided by the Energy Department confirms that energy industry lobbyists enjoyed extraordinary access to Vice President Cheney's energy task force. NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) has finally compiled from Energy Department documents a comprehensive, quantitative analysis of outside contacts during formulation of the Bush administration's national energy plan. (Contact NRDC's press office for a copy.)
During the course of its operation -- from January to September of 2001 -- the energy task force received input from hundreds of corporations, organizations and individuals. The data, which validates NRDC's preliminary assessment that industry had the most access, shows that industry representatives had 714 direct contacts while non-industry representatives had only 29. NRDC could not definitively categorize another 105 direct contacts.
"A year ago the Cheney task force issued recommendations that read like a wish list for energy companies," said NRDC senior attorney Sharon Buccino. "When it came to developing the administration's environmentally and fiscally reckless energy policy, it was all industry all the time."
The representatives tallying the most direct contacts with the energy task force were from some of the nation's largest and most influential energy companies and trade associations. Not surprisingly, these industries stood to benefit from the president's policies to boost domestic energy production. Some of them also are major donors to President Bush and Republican congressional candidates. For example:
Nuclear Energy Institute had contact with the task force 19 times. (NEI contributed $437,404 to Republican candidates and the GOP from 1999 to 2002.)
Bonneville Power Administration had contact with the task force 15 times.
Edison Electric Institute had contact with the task force 14 times. (EEI contributed $598,169 to Republican candidates and the GOP from 1999 to 2002.)
United States Enrichment Corporation had contact with the task force 12 times.
North American Electric Reliability Council had contact with the task force 11 times.
National Mining Association had contact with the task force nine times. (NMA contributed $575,496 to Republican candidates and the GOP from 1999 to 2002.)
Westinghouse had contact with the task force nine times. (Westinghouse Electric Company contributed $65,060 to Republican candidates and the GOP from 1999 to 2002.)
American Gas Association had contact with the task force eight times. (AGA contributed $480,478 to Republican candidates and the GOP from 1999 to 2002.)
Electric Power Research Institute had contact with the task force eight times.
CMS Energy had contact with the task force eight times. (CMS contributed $357,715 to Republican candidates and the GOP from 1999 to 2002.)
Southern Company had contact with the task force seven times. (Southern contributed $1,626,507 to Republican candidates and the GOP from 1999 to 2002.)
American Petroleum Institute had contact with the task force six times. (API contributed $44,301 to Republican candidates and the GOP from 1999 to 2002.)
Exelon Corporation had contact with the task force six times. (Exelon contributed $910,886 to Republican candidates and the GOP from 1999 to 2002.)
National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners had contact with the task force six times.
Enron Corporation had contact with the task force four times, in addition to the six times that Vice President Cheney reportedly met with company officials. (Enron contributed $2,480,056 to Republican candidates and the GOP from 1999 to 2002.)
Note that these contacts were ones in which Energy Department staff participated. Other direct contacts with the energy task force, for example through the vice president's office, are not included in these tallies because the Bush administration has refused to release that information.
To review political campaign contributions from the energy sector, consult the Center for Responsive Politics' website: http://www.opensecrets.org/news/energy_task_force/index.asp.
For the purpose of NRDC's analysis, meetings, phone calls, letters, memos or e-mail communication with the task force are classified as direct contacts. Excluded from NRDC's analysis are indirect contacts, such as reports, press releases, hearing statements and information obtained from websites.
The category of "industry" is broadly defined to include companies, trade associations, and law and consulting firms representing energy interests. NRDC did not distinguish the type of industry, so, for example, the handful of alternative energy industries are lumped into that general category. Likewise, the "non-industry" category includes think tanks heavily financed by energy interests. The "unknown" category represents entities that NRDC was unable to identify or categorize.
The attached database includes entries that are not part of NRDC's analysis. For example, direct contacts by representatives from government and academia are omitted from the count, as are several hundred contacts by individuals who did not list their affiliation.
The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, non-profit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has more than 500,000 members nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
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