Lindsey Graham Seeks to Bail Out General Electric and Rescue Obama’s Energy Policy

Tom Borelli
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Posted: Feb 20, 2010 1:40 PM
Lindsey Graham Seeks to Bail Out General Electric and Rescue Obama’s Energy Policy

By advocating for a renewable energy bill on the eve of the demise of the man-made global warming theory and for its legislative offspring, economy killing cap-and-trade legislation, progressive Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is simultaneously seeking to bail out GE and to rescue Obama’s energy policy.

Graham is working with GE lobbyists to draft the ‘‘Clean Energy Act of 2009’’ – legislation to establish a federal mandate requiring that an increasing amount of electricity must be derived from so-called “clean energy” sources over the coming decades.

Specifically, the draft bill demands that 20 percent of electricity come from “clean energy” sources by 2020 and 50 percent by 2050.

Coincidentally or otherwise, Graham’s definition of clean energy matches GE’s business strategy in clean coal technology and renewable and nuclear energy.

The nexus between GE’s influence and its business interests was exposed by the New York Times, which reported, “Several sources said General Electric Co. helped Graham in crafting the legislative language. GE has the world's largest gas turbine manufacturing plant, in Greenville, S.C., and the company also is leading development of new nuclear reactors and a ’clean coal‘ technology known as integrated gasification combined cycle, which has the capacity to capture and permanently sequester carbon emissions.”

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GE’s wind and solar power products could also be used to meet Graham’s renewable energy mandates.

By helping GE, Graham is undercutting our free market system, propagating the notion that fossil fuels are contributing to the demise of our planet and guaranteeing higher energy prices for all Americans.

The fact is, we don’t need renewable energy mandates, but GE and Obama do.

Under the leadership of CEO Jeff Immelt, GE has made a huge bet on making money on global warming fears by developing energy-generating products that compliment Obama’s left-wing attack on fossil fuels.

Nuclear energy, wind and solar power and clean coal are energy sources that eliminate or reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions released into the atmosphere.

Disturbingly, Immelt does not want to compete in the open marketplace. Rather, he wants to game the political system by working with Congress to mandate demand for GE’s products, either by increasing the price of fossil fuels through a cap-and-trade system or via a Graham-type bill that requires power generation from renewable energy sources.

Because the global warming tidal wave has been reduced to a mere splash, Immelt’s grand plan is in jeopardy. Climategate and the scandal surrounding the scientific basis of the latest UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on global warming is eroding both public and political support of costly emissions restrictions.

Congressional backlash against new global warming laws and/or regulation is also reducing support for proposed actions by the EPA. Democratic Congressmen Ike Skelton and Collin Peterson have introduced a bill to strip the EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases, and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has Democratic co-sponsors for a legislative override of EPA’s effort to regulate carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act.

Immelt is also seeing defections from the showcase cap-and-trade lobbying coalition – the United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP). Just this week, three founding members, BP, Caterpillar and ConocoPhillips, decided to leave the group. Additionally, Marsh and Xerox have mysteriously disappeared from the roster of member companies on the USCAP website.

Desperate and perhaps panicked over the prospects of imminent failure, Immelt and a band of CEOs and environmental group allies have unleashed a last-minute lobbying push. They recently met with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Climate Change Czar Carol Browner on global warming legislation.

While the outcome of the Administration’s lobbying fest remains unknown, it seems Immelt must have hit pay dirt with Graham.

Perhaps Graham is willing to accept undesirable aspects of the renewable energy bill in order to get broad political support for nuclear power, which our country needs. Regardless of his intentions, this deal comes at too great a cost.

Yielding to the demands of a corporate interest, sacrificing free-market principles and legitimizing unsustainable “clean” energy technologies is unacceptable. This is especially true at this critical time, when the entire basis for reducing carbon emissions is in jeopardy.

Graham should not snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by buttressing Immelt’s failed business strategy or Obama’s war on fossil fuels. Let them deal with the consequences of their actions.