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Papers Detail Industry's Role in Cheney's Energy Report
The development of a new energy policy was Bush's first major initiative after he took office. He turned over responsibility of it to Cheney, a former chairman of Halliburton Co., a Dallas-based energy services firm.
Mindful of the disastrous fate that befell Hillary Rodham Clinton's unwieldy health-care task force, which included about 500 staff members and 34 working groups, Cheney kept his energy task force small and lean. Instead of a 1,300-page report, he aimed for something much shorter: The final product was 170 pages.
From the beginning, it was clear that Cheney was running the show, chairing meetings of the task force -- made up of about a dozen Cabinet officers and senior officials -- in his ceremonial office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Much of the task force's work was done by a six-person staff, led by its executive director, Andrew D. Lundquist, a former aide to Republican Sens. Ted Stevens and Frank Murkowski of Alaska. In 2000, Lundquist was the Bush campaign's energy expert; Bush nicknamed him "Light Bulb."
Today, Lundquist is a lobbyist, and he has represented some of the companies who appeared before the task force, such as BP, Duke Energy and the American Petroleum Institute. He did not return phone calls for this article.
Back in 2001, Lundquist was the person to see, and the document suggests that he and his colleagues consulted widely with energy company executives and their lobbyists. That was especially true in the early stages of the project, which focused heavily on how to stimulate domestic oil drilling, promote nuclear power and coal, and respond to the Western electricity crisis, which had caused soaring rates and blackouts in California.
Jack N. Gerard, then with the National Mining Association, had a meeting with Lundquist and other staffers in February. He urged the administration to give the Energy Department responsibility for promoting technology for easing global warming and to keep the issue away from the Environmental Protection Agency, which could issue regulations on greenhouse gas emissions. The administration adopted that position.
Another visitor in March was Eli Bebout, an old friend of Cheney's from Wyoming who serves in the state Senate and owns an oil and drilling company. Bebout said he presented a report to Cheney's staff on behalf of a group of Western state officials recommending increased drilling, use of nuclear power and attention to renewable resources. Bebout said he had been scheduled to meet with Cheney but the vice president was ill.
One advocacy group that visited was the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy, founded in 1998 by Grover Norquist and Gale A. Norton, who became Bush's first interior secretary. Later, the group was run by Italia Federici, who was involved socially with Steven Griles. Griles, then Norton's deputy at Interior, was recently sentenced to prison for obstructing a Senate investigation of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Red Cavaney, president of the American Petroleum Institute, also met with Lundquist, the document shows. Cavaney said they discussed position papers that the API had given to both presidential campaigns and to new members of Congress.
"We're in the business of routinely providing advocacy materials," Cavaney said. "Speaking for myself, I had zero hand in authoring or sitting with anyone from that task force and changing anything."
But the API did seem to have influence with the administration, according to a document obtained by the National Resources Defense Council.
Jim Ford of the API sent Joseph T. Kelliher, then an Energy Department official and now chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, copies of the API's well-known positions, along with a "suggested executive order to ensure that energy implications are considered and acted on in rulemakings and executive actions."