Will Energy Bill Fund World's Biggest Mall?
The Boston Globe publishes a three-part series on how the Republicans now in control of Congress are reshaping the legislative process. Part two follows the path of the massive (and currently stalled) energy bill, which began with closed-door meetings of the Cheney energy task force, thought to be influenced largely by energy-industry folks, without significant input from environmental or consumer advocates, and then wound its way to congressional conference committee meetings, from which Democrats were almost completely excluded. In the process, parties with vested interests in energy policy spent a jaw-dropping $387.8 million lobbying Congress, and tens of millions more contributing directly to politicians involved in the process. For their efforts, they got a phone-book-sized bill larded with billions of dollars in subsidies, tax breaks, and regulatory rollbacks, benefiting everyone from the nuclear industry to developers of mega-malls. The broad story is familiar, but the details reveal just how far off the rails the legislative process has gone:
"Billed as the biggest mall in the world, the yet-to-be-built DestiNY USA would be filled with 400 retailers, thousands of hotel rooms, a 65-acre glass-enclosed indoor park, a rock- and ice-climbing wall, and a theater suitable for Broadway shows. And if its patrons in Congress get their way, the mega-mall would be partially funded through the federal energy bill, which would provide $100 million in public money."
Thanks to Grist Magazine