If you tuned in to the House Natural Resources Committee this morning expecting to learn about roadblocks to wind and solar development, you may have been surprised to hear yet again about how to grow the profits of Big Oil companies.
Chairman Doc Hastings’ (R-WA) Natural Resources Committee bumped today’s hearing entitled “Identifying Roadblocks to Wind and Solar Energy on Public Lands and Waters — The Wind and Solar Industry Perspective.” They replaced it with part three of their oil above all look at gas prices, including witnesses associated with the Koch brothers and Jack Abramoff.
James Martin testified on behalf of the 60 Plus Association, which openly admits that they are “viewed as the conservative alternative to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).” As a 501 (c)(4), the 60 Plus Association does not reveal from where their funding comes, but it has been reported that Republican sources described the organization in 2010 as receiving “an influx of funds from the billionaire brothers, David and Charles Koch.” ThinkProgress also obtained a 2007 PowerPoint presentation prepared by the BP-funded front group “Consumer Energy Alliance,” in which the 60 Plus Association is listed as an “affiliated group”.
Another witness on the panel, Deneen Borelli, testified on behalf of the National Center for Public Policy Research, which once had Jack Abramoff on its Board of Directors. This connection is particularly of interest given that in her testimony, when discussing the need for a pro-growth energy strategy, Ms. Borelli states:
“There is something terribly wrong when the corporate and social elite can use the power of government to advance their narrow interests while harming the standard of living of hardworking Americans, denying us our right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Yet, she failed to recognized a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that shows 74 percent of voters support eliminating tax breaks to oil companies or that according to a March 2011 survey by polling firm Greenberg Quinlan & Rosner Research (GQCR), 52 percent of voters blame oil companies for the recent increase in gas prices.
Big Oil may be the largest example of “corporate and social elite” in the world, and they continue to rely on their friends in the Grand Oil Party to protect their taxpayer subsidies and push for policies that pad their shareholder’s pockets. The votes don’t lie. The GOP controlled house has taken 13 votes that directly benefit Big Oil. Today’s postponed wind and solar hearing is just one more example of the GOP’s plan to protect oil above all, rather than get serious about reducing gas prices with a comprehensive energy plan.