Thursday, May 21, 2009

Making Green Sausage

You may not want to look too closely at this because the making of legislation or sausage can make you queasy.

Up in D.C., they're working on a greenhouse gas bill to curb the production of carbon dioxide, and there's a lot of cooks in the kitchen. In the first quarter of 2009, 140 businesses or interest groups have put lobbyists into action to represent them in the creation of the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act. That makes a total of 880 firms or groups with lobbyists involved, according to the Center for Public Integrity.

Of course, the power companies and oil and gas interests make up more than half of those. But what the heck? There's also Google, Nike and Starbucks, to name a few of the not-so-usual suspects. Then there's the American Meat Institute ("don't outlaw cow burps"), Levi Strauss and the maker of Segways (transportation without the tailpipes).

Too much?

They would probably say never enough.

There's a lot of money involved when you start talking about selling permits to pollute, better known as cap and trade, or keeping you're friends employed in Washington. The center reports the lobbyists have multiple clients. For example, 10 lobbyist firms represent 100 businesses. That's a lot of former government officials and Capital Hill staffers at work to keep the Earth from getting all crispy.

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