Apr 1, 2002
After the Enron scandal broke last fall, the General Accounting Office (GAO), the accounting arm of Congress, asked the Bush administration for documents relating to how it had worked out its national energy policy. The Bush administration refused, and the GAO took them to court.
Finally at the end of March, the Bush administration released thousands of documents, but only after they had been heavily censored. Even censored, they showed a lot.
To work out the national energy policy, the Bush administration met with more than 100 people – every single one of them either an energy industry executive, trade association leader or company lobbyist, including, of course, for Enron. But administration officials did not meet a single representative of environmental organizations or consumer groups. The documents show that when Spencer Abraham, Bush’s Secretary of Energy, was contacted by a coalition of 30 environmental organizations, he said he was too busy to meet with them.
Why bother? The administration had already been given its “energy policy”! For example, the American Petroleum Institute handed Abraham a proposed draft of an executive order that called for massive subsidies to the oil companies and the wholesale elimination of key health and environmental safeguards. Two months later, Bush signed an executive order that was virtually identical to what the oil industry had written.
Obviously, what counts in the shaping of national energy policy is putting more zip into corporate profits – at the expense of taxpayers, consumers and the environment.
That was hardly a secret, even before the documents were released!
Besides that, the Bush administration has found their fall guy – Spencer Abraham.
When the energy commission was set up, Bush put Vice-President Cheney in charge. Now, however, Spencer Abraham has stepped forward to take credit for it. More exactly – to take the heat in case the scandal gets bigger.
Bush always was a slippery character – seems that Cheney is too.