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An Oily Voice at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce?

Jeff Siegel | Wednesday June 16th, 2010 | 0 Comments

Last month, Congress announced it was preparing to increase the barrel tax on oil. Revenues would be used for future crises like the one in the Gulf.

In response to that announcement, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce slammed the idea, saying it was hastily put together. The VP of the chamber’s energy institute said that the tax could be passed on to consumers if the oil industry manages to raise gas prices in response to the tax increase.

Clearly we would expect the Chamber to be opposed to such a tax, so certainly this was not a surprising response… Although you’ll be hard-pressed to ever hear the Chamber weigh in on all those oil subsidies that have done a tremendous job at keeping us hooked on artificially low gasoline prices.

Yes, when you pilfer for oil interests, the Chamber doesn’t seem to get too upset.

Of course, I do find it interesting that just one month after the Chamber denounced an increase of the barrel tax, its CEO Tom Donohue is saying that everybody is going to contribute to this clean up:

We are all going to have to do it. We are going to have to get the money from the government and from the companies and we will figure out a way to do that.

Well wait a minute. Why would the government — the taxpayers — have to pony up a single cent for this? I thought the Chamber didn’t want us to be burdened with more taxes…

I guess that only applies to situations where the oil companies are not affected.

Yes, my friends… This is the organization that claims on its  website that its core purpose is to fight for free enterprise.

What the website should actually read is:

As the voice of business, the Chamber’s core purpose is to fight for free enterprise — unless we’re talking about the energy industry, in which case we fully support continued welfare for fossil fuels.

What a joke.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is nothing more than a puppet for fossil fuel interests.

But wait. It gets better…

Chamber of deceit

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce — through its fossil fuel front, the Institute for 21st Century Energy — is now promoting a dog and pony show called the Energy Reality Tour.

Just the name begs the question: What the hell does the Chamber know about energy reality?

In a recent press release, the Energy Reality Tour is described as a national discussion on America’s energy future where Energy Institute officials will be discussing with business and community leaders the realities of America’s energy challenges and the solutions that will make our nation more secure and prosperous.

Who wants to guess what those solutions will be?

Based on what the Institute promotes on its website, I’m guessing those “solutions” will be heavily weighted in offshore oil and “clean” coal.

Interestingly enough, the Institute has also published an Index of U.S. Energy Security Risk.

Not sure why they waited until 2010 to publish such important data, but I’m guessing it has something to do with the timing of the energy reality tour.

Maybe it’s a good way to scare folks with the reality of our energy security risk — which is very real, by the way — so they can then present their options.

What are those options?

Well, looking at the Institute’s website, they are listed as follows. . .

  • Immediately expand domestic oil and natural gas exploration and production
  • Commit to and Expand Nuclear Energy Use
  • Commit to the Use of Clean Coal
  • Increase Renewable Sources of Electricity
  • Transform our Transportation Sector
  • Biofuels
  • Electricity as an Alternative Fuel
  • Natural Gas
  • Coal-to-Liquids
  • Hydrogen

The top three priorities for the Institute: oil, nuclear, and coal.

Yeah, way to really support the transition to a cleaner, more sustainable energy economy!

Of course, here’s my favorite part. It’s what the Institute has to say about renewable energy tax credits:

We recommend that an eight-year renewable energy tax credit be enacted to allow long-term planning and investment to occur efficiently. Any such fiscal incentive benefiting one industry or sector must not come at the expense of raising taxes on another.

These credits must not exist in perpetuity; after eight years these credits should be phased out over the succeeding four years and then be eliminated entirely. After eight years, the eligible technologies must be able to survive commercially on their own economic and technological merit.

If it truly believe this, then it should have no problem supporting the immediate end to all oil, gas, and coal subsidies.

But no. Instead of truly supporting a real free market — where oil and coal companies operate without taxpayer dollars and without the freedom to liquidate our natural capital — the Chamber expects you, the taxpayer, to pony up a few bucks to help clean up this spill.

It expects you to listen to its solutions to our energy woes.

And it expects you to buy that it is the champion of free enterprise.

It is not.

As Robert South once said, “All deception in the course of life is indeed nothing else but a lie reduced to practice, and falsehood passing from words into things.”


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