Senate Finance Committee Calls On Polluter Lobbyists To Defend Pollution Economy Yet Again

Senate Finance Committee

Tomorrow, Sen. Max Baucus’s (D-MT) Finance Committee will look at the effect of clean energy legislation on the “future of jobs.” Appearing before the committee are four industry or conservative lobbyists and one coal-industry union lobbyist, Abraham Breehey. The only economist to testify will be Margo Thorning, a lobbyist for the anti-tax American Council on Capital Formation. Also testifying is Carol Berrigan, a nuclear industry representative, Van Ton-Quinlivan of Pacific Gas & Electric, and American Enterprise Institute fellow Kenneth Green.

One could point out that Breehey’s union, the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Shipbuilders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers, supports the Kerry-Boxer Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act in large part because it provides so much support for the coal industry.

One could point out that Berrigan’s organization, the Nuclear Energy Institute, is not satisfied that clean energy legislation will spur nuclear energy through free-market competition, but is demanding massive subsidies and tax breaks as well.

One could point out that ACCF and AEI have received millions of dollars in funding from Exxon Mobil alone, or that Thorning refuses to reveal her methodology and Green has tried to buy climate scientists for $10,000 a pop.

Instead, let’s just note that tomorrow’s testimony will likely rehash the talking points that these witnesses have delivered time and again for the past ten years. Other than Ton-Quinlivan, who is appearing for the first time before Congress, the witnesses are regulars on the Hill, testifying a combined 20 times on climate and energy policy since 2002. Thorning has been the most frequent guest over the years, and this will be Green’s fifth time testifying since June.

Margo Thorning:

Kenneth P. Green

Carol Berrigan:

Abraham Breehey

If the Finance Committee is really trying to learn something new about whether reforming our pollution-based energy infrastructure would create new jobs, one would think they could have put a little more effort in witness selection.

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