January 04, 2005
Congress returns to D.C. this week for a brief organizing session, but a lot of the real action is happening out west – at the posh Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix. The Western Business Roundtable (a polluters’ who’s-who, including the Edison Electric Institute, big coal mining companies, etc.) is hosting the “Business Summit of the West,” a meeting that “gives business leaders a unique opportunity to talk with top experts” about such topics as the “latest threats/opportunities” in proposed air regulation. (You can read about this yourself click here)
In other words, it’s a great opportunity for polluter lobbyists to buy access to top federal and state officials amid golf and booze. (This meeting is, of course, in keeping with the Roundtable’s key mission, which includes:
- Work to influence the development of public policies at the state, regional and federal levels.
- Help our members gain access to public policymakers at the highest levels of government.)
The fun starts tomorrow with a welcoming reception (sponsored by Arch Coal Company) and charity golf tournament at the “wild west” Las Sendas golf course. But the real action may be January 6, when officials – including White House Counsel of Environmental Quality Chairman Jim Connaughton, EPA Assistant Administrator Jeffrey Holmstead, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton (R-TX) and John Shanahan, counsel to Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), are expected to discuss clean air and energy policy. Lunch is sponsored by BIPAC, a political action committee which “identifies and supports pro-business candidates who have demonstrated the skill and leadership necessary to fuel a pro-business Congress.”
There’s still time to make this exciting gathering – if you hurry! It only costs $500 to attend – and that includes admission to the “Wild West Saloon Night.”
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE…
At the same time, the Edison Electric Institute is holding its winter board of directors meeting at the nearby Scottsdale Princess hotel. CEOs of the big power companies are expected to attend. Among the items on EEI’s agenda (yes, they’ve got their own golf tournament): power company CEOs will plot on ways to get Congress to adopt the Bush administration’s “clear skies” plan, which would weaken the current Clean Air Act.
And these guys know who to plot with! -- Senators Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and George Voinovich (R-OH) are expected to participate in part of this discussion via live video conference.
As always, please don’t hesitate to get in touch if we can help.
--Frank O’Donnell, Clean Air Watch, 202-558-3527