Energy Task Force Update
NOW with Bill Moyers, PBS,
broadcast 29 March 2002.
Page compiled by Jeremy Lewis.
MOYERS: It's been a week of extraordinary revelations about who wrote the
Administration's Energy Policy.
Under a threat of court order, the Energy Department has now released eleven
thousand pages of secret documents revealing how the energy industry used its
influence to get what the big corporations wanted.
Lobbyists for the oil industry, for example, wrote a presidential executive
that President Bush then issued practically verbatim granting the oil companies'
The secret documents also reveal that over a five-month period last year,
energy policy was being drafted, officials from energy companies were granted
ENRON...AMERICAN COAL...TEXACO...EXXONMOBIL...in all, 109 industry executives,
trade association leaders and lobbyists, met privately with Secretary of Energy
Abraham met with no environmental or consumer groups.
SHARON BUCCINO (SENIOR ATTORNEY FOR THE NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE
COUNCIL): The people who got in to see them are directly, are one in the same
the people who contributed to the campaign and helped put the people in those
decision making positions.
MOYERS: Sharon Buccino is senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense
Council. It was a lawsuit by NRDC that forced the Energy Department to release
the secret documets.
BUCCINO: One reason why the Bush administration has resisted providing
information that we've requested is, I think they have to be afraid that it's going
to expose the Bush Energy Plan for what it is and that's special favors for special
MOYERS: The Bush Energy Plan would provide the oil and gas industries alone
with $21 Billion in tax subsidies... and give the automotive industry a seven-year
holiday from new fuel efficiency standards.
As a whole the energy industry was among the biggest contributors to the
Bush/Cheney campaign and to many members of Congress during the last
LARRY KLAYMAN (JUDICIAL WATCH): The government has an obligation to let
people know what it's doing behind closed doors.
MOYERS: Larry Klayman chairs the conservative public interest law firm,
Watch. He filed suit to obtain the records of secret meetings of the Energy Task
Force Chaired by Vice President Richard Cheney.
KLAYMAN: The Bush administration was elected and President Bush in particular
on a promise that he would be more ethical than President Clinton was during his
He is not fulfilling his promise to the American people to let the American
know what government is doing and when he fails to fulfill that promise, it raises
an inference that things are being done improperly.
MOYERS: Klayman contends that because public policy is involved, the secrecy
those Cheney Task Force meetings was illegal.
KLAYMAN: They don't want the American people knowing what they're doing,
because it raises more and more questions. The issue is not whether he can do
business that way, the issue is whether the law requires him to open it up to the
MOYERS: Both Judicial Watch and the NRDC told us this week that of the
pages of information requested, the Energy Department has turned over less
than half. They also said large portions had been deleted from those documents
that were released.
KLAYMAN: These companies have lined the pockets of both major political
and consequently the potential for abuse is great not just in the executive branch
but in the legislative branch of government and throughout the governorships of
this country. They have bought and paid for energy policy.
BUCCINO: I mean it really gets back to the basic principles of democracy.
public deserves to know, has a right to know, who is buying government policy.