Energy Policy Meltdown
IN A MOVE THAT CONSUMER and environmental critics denounced for showering subsidies on the oil and nuclear industries, sure to worsen pollution and removing vital consumer protections, President Bush in August signed into law the Energy Policy Act.
The bill provides $4.5 billion in tax breaks and more than $7 billion in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, and eases environmental regulations for oil and gas drilling and refining.
It will provide billions more in corporate welfare for the nuclear power industry. According to Public Citizen, the bill provides $2.9 billion in R&D supports for the nuclear industry, $3.25 billion in construction subsidies, $5.7 billion in operating aid (including re-authorization of the Price-Anderson Act, which limits the industry's liability in event of an accident), and $1.3 billion in shut-down subsidies.
The bill also repeals the Public Utility Holding Company Act, a venerable statute that prevented cross-ownership between utilities and other industries, and established a strong structure of state-based regulation of utilities. Repeal of the law will pave the way for massive consolidation among utilities and cross-industry ownership.
The bill "is a simply stunning display of congressional indifference to our serious energy problems and an example of corporate welfare at its worst," says Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook. …