Energy and Politics: The Stories Never End

Kriz, Margaret
June 2004
Nieman Reports;Summer2004, Vol. 58 Issue 2, p10
The article describes how politics and energy policy intersects. In some ways, covering the U.S. President George W. Bush administration's energy policy began with the 2000 presidential race. But it became clear how much energy would win out, especially over environmental policy, once the administration's 2001 energy policy report was released. Congressional Republicans have incorporated into their omnibus energy packages, which have included billions of dollars in energy-related tax incentives, tow-thirds of which would go to the fossil fuel and nuclear power industries. Many of the administration's energy maneuvers have been complex, technical and almost impossible to track. In 2002, President Bush signed off on the Yucca facility, leaving continued questions about the long-term safety of the site to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Headlines about energy have changed since Abraham's 2001 speech, when California was suffering from rolling blackouts and the Western states were hit by historically high electricity and natural gas prices. Back then, politicians and consumer groups were beginning to cast a suspicious eye at energy wheeler-dealers like Enron and Reliant Energy. Since then, California's energy crisis and the resulting economic downturn triggered, in part, the ouster of Democratic Governor Gray Davis and the election of the high-profile Republic Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Energy trading scandals brought down Enron and resulted in huge fines against Reliant and other companies. Western electricity prices have stabilized. But high natural gas and gasoline prices continue to plague consumers across the nation.


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