Dick Cheney looks at the blurry line between politicians and lobbyists and erases it with the subtlety of a bunker-buster:
For more than two years, Cheney and a relatively unknown administration official, Deputy Energy Secretary Clay Sell, have been regularly visiting the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to ensure agency officials rewrite regulatory policies and bypass public hearings in order to streamline the licensing process for energy companies that have filed applications to build new nuclear power reactors, as well as applications for new nuclear facilities that are expected to be filed by other companies in the months ahead, longtime NRC officials said.
Before being sworn in as deputy energy secretary in March 2005, Sell, a lawyer whose roots extend to Bush’s home state of Texas, was a White House lobbyist working on energy issues. He had also participated in secret meetings with Cheney’s Energy Task Force.
In April, Sell and Cheney had both met with NRC officials to sign off on the final regulatory policies related to new nuclear reactors. Following the meeting, Sell had alerted a group of energy companies they could begin to take advantage of the faster application process, NRC officials said.
NRC officials said that Cheney has expressed a desire to see applications for nuclear reactor projects approved by the NRC when he and Bush leave the White House in January 2009.
The energy corporations Cheney and Sell have been personally lobbying the NRC on behalf of this year have advised the vice president and his staff on energy policy in a way that would boost their companies’ profit margins. These corporations have also donated millions of dollars to President Bush’s and Cheney’s past presidential campaigns.
Read the rest at Cheney’s Plan to Combat Global Warming: Nuclear Power
The Public Record – Tuesday, 10 June 2008