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The Bush Administration and Gas Prices
Grand Old Petroleum

In the last week gas prices have risen sharply, yet the Bush administration not only refuses to consider short-term relief for the problem, but won't consider needed conservation measures in its long-term energy strategy, favoring its contributors over the America public:

GAS PRICES RISE AS CHENEY SAYS THERE IS NOTHING THAT CAN BE DONE, GOP IS WORRIED ABOUT POLITICAL IMPACT

Cheney Said "There's Little We Can Do in the Short Term," on Gas Prices, Power Blackouts. On May 10, 2001, Vice President Cheney said his report offers "little quick relief to Californians living with power blackouts or motorists facing higher gasoline prices. 'There's not much we can do in the short term,'" according to USA Today. [USA Today, 5/11/01]

Gas Prices Increased by Almost 9 Cents in the Last Two Weeks. "The nation's average price of gas, including all grades and taxes, increased 8.58 cents to $1.76 over the last two weeks -- with the Midwest and West experiencing the biggest jumps at the pump. USA Today reported Monday that Shell and Chevron dealers in California and Chicago say they have been told to prepare for the possibility of $3-a-gallon gasoline this summer," according to the Associated Press. [AP, 5/7/01]

GOP is Worried That Bush Could Wind Up With Carter-Like Energy Problems. "Many Republicans say they are worried that, fairly or unfairly, Mr. Bush could find himself in the same predicament as President Jimmy Carter. Even after Mr. Carter declared that his energy policy was 'the moral equivalent of war,' energy problems were widely viewed as contributing to his defeat in 1980. Republican Party polls show that energy is intensifying as a major issue, and that it could easily escalate around Memorial Day weekend, when millions of Americans will start their vacations by filling up their tanks with gasoline that already costs $2 a gallon or more in some places.," according to the New York Times. [New York Times, 5/10/01]

  • Alan Greenspan, Lawrence Lindsey Think President Should Pressure OPEC. One Part of the Bush Administration including, "Lawrence Lindsey, the President's chief economic adviser, and Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve chairman, is said to think that the administration should pressure the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to raise production. OPEC has reduced its daily output about 9 percent since the start of the year, which has helped keep crude oil prices $25 to $29 a barrel, and in turn, kept gasoline prices high." according to the New York Times. [New York Times, 5/16/01]
  • Former Energy Information Administration Head Said Underlying Problem Has Always Been Crude Oil. "The underlying problem has always been crude oil," said Jay Hakes, former head of the Energy Information Administration. "If they did something for June, it would have an immediate impact on the oil futures market." [New York Times, 5/16/01]
  • GOP Aides Said Bush's Energy Task Force Does Nothing to Address Short Term Energy Problems. After a briefing by Bush's energy task-force, several Republican aides said the Administration plan "appears only to provide long-term national solutions and does nothing substantive to address summer blackouts and skyrocketing gasoline prices in different regions of the country in the short run," according to Roll Call. [Roll Call, 5/7/01]
  • Bush Advisers Say Bush Energy Plan Will Do Little to Address Gas Prices. Bush "advisers caution that the [Bush energy] plan would do little to address the escalating gasoline prices," according to the New York Times. [New York Times, 5/10/01]

BUSH HAS FLIP-FLOPPED ON HOW TO SOLVE GAS PRICES

Bush Said His Tax Cut Will be "A Real Way to Deal With High Energy Price." Regarding his tax cut, Bush said, "It will be good for the economy, and will be a real way to deal with high energy prices. I am confident they can get it done before Memorial Day," Bush said. [CNN, 5/11/01]

  • If Gas Prices Rise $1, Then 130% of Bush's 2001 Tax Cut Will Go to Gas Costs. "The average American driver buys 690 gallons of gasoline a year. U.S. drivers purchased a total of 130 billion gallons," according to a study by Cambridge Energy Research Associates. The Bush budget passed by Congress includes $100 billion in tax cuts for economic stimulus over the next year. If gas prices were to raise $1, it would cost American drivers $130 billion - 130% of the tax cut. [www.energy.com/Cambridge Energy Research Associates; Washington Post, 5/11/01]

Fleischer Said Bush Has Never Sought Short-Term Fixes. "If any politician has a magic wand that they can wave over gas prices to lower them, the president... would like to listen to them - [President Bush] has never sought a quick fix because quick fixes don't work," White House Spokesman Ari Fleischer said. "He will resist the siren song of moving from one short-term solution to another." [AP, 5/7/01]

  • On June 21, 2000, Bush Said OPEC Can Be Blamed As the "Main Reason" for Gas Prices. Bush said the "main reason" for gas prices was OPEC withholding production and he "would hope the administration could convince our friends at OPEC to open up the spigots." [Associated Press, 6/21/00]
  • Bush Said He Would Work With OPEC to Reduce Oil Prices. When asked for a concrete example of a solution to high gas prices, Bush said, "I would work with our friends in OPEC to convince them to open up the spigot, to increase the supply. Use the capital that my administration will earn, with the Kuwaitis or the Saudis, and convince them to open up the spigot." [Bush press conference, 6/27/00]
  • Bush Blamed Environmental Regulations For Gas Prices. When asked what he would do about gas prices, Bush said, "I think a couple of things. One is to make sure they are not getting gouged. I have heard the reasons is well, more regulations or more attempt to make the gasoline conform to clean air standards." [WKYC, Cleveland, OH, 6/17/00]
  • Exxon Vice President Said Environmental Regulations Had Little to Do With Gas Prices. "Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney have often cited high prices as evidence that industry cannot meet demand because regulations make it too hard to increase supply. Industry officials have applauded the focus on streamlining regulations that they consider costly to comply with. But many acknowledge that those complaints have little to do with the price of gas today. The reality of energy markets has gotten lost 'in the politics of the moment,' says Ken Cohen, vice president for public affairs of the Exxon Mobil Corporation in Irving, Tex. The company would like to see environmental regulations become more predictable, he said. 'But the market isn't broken. If you let the markets work, the markets will clear,' or meet demand," according to the New York Times. [New York Times, 5/12/01]

BUSH ADMINISTRATION IS CLOSELY TIED TO THE OIL, GAS, AUTO INDUSTRIES

Bush Received More than $1.8 Million in Contributions From Oil and Gas Industry. During 1999-2000 the oil and gas industries gave $1,846,331 to the Bush campaign, the most of any candidate. [USA Today, 3/1/01; www.crp.org]

Bush Appointed Former Oil Executives As Members of Energy Task Force. On January 29th, 2001, President Bush appointed an energy task force with ties to the oil and energy industry. Members include Commerce Secretary Don Evans, a former executive at Texas oil company Tom Brown, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham who received almost half a million dollars in contributions from the oil and energy industry during his 2000 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Michigan, and Interior Secretary Gale Norton who received nearly $28,570 from the oil and gas companies for her 1996 run for U.S. Senate, the second largest total from any industry. [www.crp.org; New York Times, 1/30/01]

  • Task Force Head Vice President Cheney Was Former CEO of Halliburton. Prior to his candidacy for Vice President, Task Force Head Dick Cheney was the CEO of Halliburton, the world's largest oil field services company. In August 2000, Cheney received $20.6 million for his sale of a portion of his Halliburton stock. Cheney's energy task force recently floated a proposal to drop oil sanctions on Iran and Libya to help ease oil shortages. Halliburton, through its European subsidiaries, Dresser-Rand and Ingersoll Dresser Pump Co. have sold spare parts to Iraq's oil industry, despite U.N. sanctions. [www.crp.org; www.halliburton.com; USA Today, 1/19/01; Washington Post, 4/19/01; New York Times, 3/6/00]

Chief of Staff Andrew Card Earned $600,000 Lobbying for GM, Auto Trade Association. Before serving as White House Chief of Staff, Andrew Card had been GM's chief lobbyist for more than a year earning $600,000 a year in salary. Card was also CEO of the now-defunct trade group, the American Automobile Manufacturers Association. The AAMA spent more than $12 million on lobbying in 1997-1998 to fight Japan over trade issues and lobby against stricter fuel emissions standards. As a policy fellow for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Card testified before Congress against the "Passengers' Bill of Rights" for the airline industry. [www.crp.org; PR Newswire, 9/16/93; Roll Call, 1/22/01; National Journal, 5/8/99]

Energy Secretary Abraham Was Top Auto Industry Contribution Recipient. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, a former Republican Senator from Michigan, was the top recipient of campaign contributions from the automotive industry during 1999-2000, receiving more than $700,000 for his failed Senate run in 2000 from contributors including General Motors, Ford and Lear Corp. [www.crp.org]

Energy Suppliers Dominated Bush Transition Energy Advisory Team. Big energy and oil firms dominated the Bush transition's Energy Advisory Team. Firms included Enron, Oil and Gas Association; Wolverine Gas and Oil Corporation; Kaiser-Francis Oil Company; Hunt Power, L.P.; Southern California Edison; Phillips Petroleum Company; Peabody Group; Occidental Chemical Corporation; American Gas Corporation; True Oil Company; Natural Gas Supply Association; TXU Corporation; Black Beauty Coal Company; and First Energy. [Center for Responsive Politics, www.crp.org]

  • Enron's Chief Executive Ken Lay Was Appointed By Bush To Energy Advisory Team, Gave $275,500 to GOP, Enron is Bush's Largest Career Patron. Kenneth W. Lay, head of energy giant Enron and a "Bush Pioneer," was appointed by Bush to the transition's Energy Advisory Team. During 1999-2000, Lay gave $275,500 to GOP Committees. Enron is Bush's largest career patron, having given him at least $563,000 for his campaigns, including his 1978 House campaign, his two gubernatorial campaigns, and the 2000 presidential campaign. [Center for Responsive Politics, www.crp.org; Newsweek, 5/1/00; Boston Globe, 10/3/99; Atlanta Journal and Constitution, 4/27/00; Center for Public Integrity, The Buying of the President 2000; FEC records]
  • Elliot Laws of Texaco Served on EPA Transition Team, Texaco Gave $320,027 to GOP. Elliot Laws of Texaco served on the Bush EPA transition team. During 1999-2000 Texaco gave $320,027 to GOP candidates and committees - $229,127 to GOP committees and $90,900 to GOP candidates. Texaco employees gave $7,450 to the Bush campaign. [www.crp.org; www.leadershipdirectories.com]

62 Out of 63 Advisory Team Members Have Ties to Energy Industry. "The Bush administration's 63-member energy advisory team, which is charged with helping chart the new administration's energy policies, has 62 members with ties to oil, nuclear, coal or other polluting interests. Between 1999 and 2000, 58 of these members gave approximately $8 million in campaign contributions to Republicans. Companies and associations affiliated with these members - including the National Mining Association, American Petroleum Association, Edison Electric Institute, Southern Company, American Gas Association and Enron Corp. - would benefit in various ways from Bush administration proposals to invest billions of dollars in coal research and drill for oil and gas in Alaska's National Wildlife Refuge and other public lands. Most would also benefit from the Bush administration's decision not to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and to back out of the international Kyoto climate change treaty," according the League of Conservation voters. [www.lcv.org]

LCV Said Bush Energy Policy "Reflects it Strong Ties to Energy Industries." "On energy more than any other issue, the Bush administration's policy approach reflects its strong ties to energy industries. It also signifies a hefty political payback for the millions in campaign contributions that helped fund the Bush campaign," said the League of Conservation Voters in a statement on the Bush energy policy. [www.lcv.org]

BUSH ADMINISTRATION IS ANTI-CONSERVATION

Cheney Dismissed Conservation as a Solution, Said "It Is Not a Sufficient Basis for a Sound, Comprehensive Energy Policy." "Cheney dismissed as 1970's-era thinking the notion that 'we could simply conserve or ration our way out' of what he called an energy crisis," according to the New York Times. "The aim here is efficiency, not austerity," Cheney said. "To speak exclusively of conservation is to duck the tough issues. Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy." [New York Times, 5/1/01; Washington Post, 5/1/01]

Bush Said it Was "Naive" to Think That Reducing Demand Could Solve the Energy Problem. On May 3, 2001, President Bush said conservation would be "an integral part" of his national energy policy, but said it was "naive" to think that reducing demand could solve the problem. "What people need to hear loud and clear is that we're running out of energy in America," Bush said. "And it is so important for this nation to improve its infrastructure so we can not only deliver supplies, but we need to find new supply. And I strongly believe we can do so in an environmentally friendly way." [www.cnn.com, 5/3/01]

  • Report by National Labs Say Conservation Could Cut Demand by 20 to 40 Percent, Contradicts Bush Administration Which Hasn't Promoted The Report. A report based on three years of work by five national laboratories said that a government-led efficiency program emphasizing research and incentives for new technologies could reduce the growth in electricity demand by 20 percent to 47 percent. This would be the equivalent of between 265 and 610 big 300-megawatt power plants, a steep reduction from the 1,300 new plants that the Bush administration has predicted will be needed. The Bush administration has not promoted these findings, relying instead primarily on advice from economists at the Energy Department's Energy Information Agency, who often take a skeptical view of projected efficiency gains and predict a much greater need for fossil fuel supplies. [New York Times, 5/7/01]
  • Union of Concerned Scientists Said Energy Task Force "Looks the Gift Horse of Energy Efficiency in the Mouth." Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists, said of the task forces expected proposals, "It looks the gift horse of energy efficiency in the mouth." [NBC Nightly News, 5/7/01]
  • Economist Said Prices Go Higher Because We Don't Change Our Driving Behavior. Energy companies "price where the market will bear and because we do not change our behavior, in terms of driving, that the market seems to be willing to bear fairly high prices," said Northwestern University Economist Lynne Kiesling. [NBC Nightly News, 5/7/01]
  • Bush's Budget Cut Funding for Research in Producing More Efficient Cars and Trucks. Bush's budget cut $39 million from a research partnership with the Ford, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler looking for ways to produce cleaner, more efficient cars and trucks. The $39 million cut was a 28 percent drop in funding. [Washington Post, 4/10/01; New York Times, 4/10/01; www.crp.org]
  • Bush's Budget Cut $700 Million From Renewable Energy Funds, Republican Senator Said Cuts Were "Unacceptable." President Bush's budget cuts $700 million from the Department of Energy, much of it coming from renewable energy research. "These cuts are unacceptable," said Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT). [USA Today, 3/1/01; www.crp.org; CNN, 5/9/01]
  • Senators From Both Parties Criticized Bush Cuts in Energy Research. At a May 8, 2001, hearing Senators from both parties told Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham that President Bush's proposed fiscal 2002 Energy budget does not provide enough money for research. Conrad Burns (R-MT), chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, and the subcommittee's ranking Democrat, Robert Byrd, (D-WV), criticized the $19.2 billion in spending proposed for the Energy Department, which is $456.4 million -- or 2.3 percent -- under the fiscal 2001 level, and includes a 17 percent cut in fossil-fuel research. "I am dumbfounded. The oil and gas that everyone wants to get their hands on will not rise from the ground by itself," said Byrd. [CQ Daily Monitor, 5/8/01]
 
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