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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Energy bill helps business, hurts states

With the stroke of his pen, President Bush signs an energy bill which creates a headache for the people in Connecticut who oppose the cross-Sound natural gas pipeline and other proposals that are blocked by state courts becuase under the new law, businesses can now skip the state and take their case to the federal courts.

What ever happened to state rights?

From the Connecticut Post

But already stirring controversy in Connecticut is a provision allowing businesses to skip state courts and head directly to federal appeals courts in cases where state officials deny or stall energy projects. That could boost several projects that Connecticut authorities oppose, including Broadwater Energy LLC's proposed floating liquefied natural gas terminal on Long Island Sound, and a cross-Sound natural gas pipeline proposed by Islander East.

Hours after Bush signed the bill, Islander East petitioned the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York to direct the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection to approve the proposed pipeline from Branford to the eastern tip of Long Island.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal blasted what he called an "unconscionable energy policy."

"President Bush today has signed a blank check to the energy industry — stripping state authority over the siting of massive projects such as Islander East and Broadwater," Blumenthal said. "The stakes for Connecticut are huge — virtual emasculation of power over energy projects that impact our environment, economy and public health."

Blumenthal vowed to resist efforts to undermine state regulatory authority in federal court. "States still have rights and we will use them to fight this battle with every ounce of our legal energy," he said.

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3, criticized Islander East's federal lawsuit.

"The state of Connecticut has a responsibility to determine whether projects such as the Islander East pipeline meet state environmental standards," she said.


Statistics from the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan research group that tracks the impact of money on politics, shows that during the 2004 election cycle, the oil and gas industries contributed $25.2 million nationwide, most of it to Republican candidates. While spending by the energy industry in 2004 was slightly up over 2002 contributions, it represented a large decline from its 2000 spending, when it raised $34.3 million for the candidates it supported.

Wonder how much money Rob Simmons (your late night "no" vote after youknew the Republicans had enough votes to pass the bill didn't fool me), Chris Shays and Nancy Johnson raked in by big oil.