Poll: Exelon’s ComEd Customers Disapprove of Efforts to Thwart Lower-Cost Energy Source, Especially If Their Money Is Used To Fight Wind Energy

The Checks and Balances Project commissioned a poll that shows high levels of support for wind energy and ratepayer antipathy toward actions carried out by Commonwealth Edison’s parent company, Exelon, to end wind power investments.

The majority of respondents opposed ending the tax credit that encourages the production of wind power (54%), and opposition to ending the tax credit rose significantly (70%) if ratepayer money was used to help fund the lobbying efforts to end the tax credits for wind power.

It is not clear whether Exelon is using ratepayer money to fund their multimillion dollar lobbying campaign against the wind tax credit. But the public and ratepayers have a right to know.

Regardless of how they fund their campaign, it is clear that ratepayers strongly support investment in wind energy. Ratepayers oppose Exelon’s efforts to go after investment in wind, while Exelon remains supportive of continued subsidies for nuclear energy (Nuclear energy comprises over 90% of Exelon’s holdings in the power generation sector).

The poll shows that:
• 81% of respondents support wind energy.
• A majority of respondents would favor increasing (57%) or not changing (21%) financial incentives offered to renewable energy.
• A majority (54%) respondents oppose Exelon’s efforts to end tax credits for wind
• This number jumps to 70% when told ratepayer dollars may be funding this lobbying effort.
• Nearly two-thirds (63%) opposed Exelon’s efforts to end wind tax credits while the company did not lobby to end subsidies for nuclear energy as well.

The popularity of wind as an energy source shouldn’t be surprising. Numerous studies have shown that consumers benefit from wind electricity’s lower rates. A study by Synapse Energy Economics found that wind power could save Midwestern consumers between $3 billion and $9.5 billion a year by 2020. In addition, wind energy tax breaks have incentivized more than $75 billion worth of private investment over the past five years.

Ending the PTC will harm ratepayers by removing the savings they would receive from wind energy and clear the path to more expensive sources of energy like nuclear power. Furthermore, wind energy competition to Exelon’s nuclear plants may be driving Exelon’s efforts to stop wind energy tax credits.

Our poll shows that Exelon’s current course of action is inconsistent with the stated wants of its ratepayers. The company should be responsive to its customers and cease lobbying against the interests of their customers.

Click here for more info on the poll.

5 Sketchy ties between Herman Cain and Koch Brothers

Several new reports show Cain is in the back pocket of dirty industries

By Andrew Schenkel

Herman Cain’s quick rise up the political latter is raising eyebrows in the energy community. On the campaign trail Cain loves touting his business background. He likes to cast himself as the ultimate outsider but his rise appears to be an inside job. Enter Charles and David Koch. Yes, the same Koch brothers who have been profiled by The New Yorker and 60 Minutes for working behind the scenes of the American political system to manipulate environmental policy for the betterment of their chemical companies. And yes, the same David and Charles Koch who recently came under fire for secret dealings with the Iranian government. These two men are also behind Herman Cain’s climbs in GOP and Cain isn’t even hiding it for one second.

1-Herman Cain says Koch Brothers are Patriots

It doesn’t get any more apparent than the video posted by ThinkProgress (watch below): When a reporter asked Cain what he thought of the Koch brothers. Cain asked for the question again, thought for a moment and then put it right out there, “David Koch is a patriot and David Koch cares about the future of this country, his brother Charles is also a patriot and cares about the future of this country.” Okay well now we know how he really feels. As for those people who say the Kochs have too much power over policy in the United States, Cain has some choice words for them: “Typical liberal way. They are of conservative and they are attacked because they are rich.”

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3 More Sketchy Connections between Hillary Clinton and the KeystoneXL Pipeline

New developments suggest former Clinton staffer dodged rules while lobbying Congress

New developments from Washington, DC reveal that lobbyists for TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline acted inappropriately while trying to gain support for the crude pipeline that would connect the Alberta Tar Sands with the Gulf of Mexico. Recent reports show that a chief lobbyist for TransCanada tried to influence American energy policy without filing under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). The reports also show a “cozy” relationship between Hillary Clinton’s State Department and TransCanada, as well as direct contact between the unregistered lobbyists and several members of congress. This news comes as the State Department continues to give every indication that it will allow the pipeline to be built, despite outcries from both the environmental community as well as those outraged about the ethical bankruptcy coming from Hillary Clinton’s department.

FARA violations

The FARA requires that any foreigners attempting to influence the United States Congress must register with the FARA Registration Unit of the Department of Justice. Emails between the State Department and TransCanada’s government relations employee Paul Elliott show that contact between the two had taken place form more than a year before he first registered as a lobbyist. This activity has resulted in questionable actions calling for a full investigation according to a report filed on September 27th. “Paul Elliott, a government relations employee of TransCanada, has acted as agent of a foreign principal and therefore violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act. We respectfully request that you immediately open an investigation of this matter,” Friends of the Earth attorney Gail Harmon wrote in a letter to Heather Hunt of the FARA Registration Unit of the Department of Justice.

The “cozy” relationship

Paul Elliott’s connections to Hillary Clinton are well documented. Elliott was a high-level campaign advisor to Clinton when she was running for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2008. When her campaign fizzled, Elliott jumped aboard TransCanada’s lobbying team as the company geared up to convince the Obama administration that a pipeline carrying millions of barrels of crude oil across the country was a good idea. Emails obtained by Friends of the Earth reveal that while Elliot was contacting members of the United States government illegally, the State Department was providing, “insider information and coaching to Mr. Elliot and TransCanada.”

“Friends” in Congress

Even though TransCanada can face “serious penalties” for failing to immediately disclose their lobbying activity in the United States, it didn’t keep the multinational corporation from reaching out to members of both political parties. Some of the members that discussed the pipeline with Elliott’s team include Sens. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Ala.).

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