President Barack Obama implied that dirty energy money is influencing Congress’s energy committees in a speech at Binghamton University in New York on Friday.
“Unfortunately, what we’ve seen too often in Congress is that the fossil fuel industries tend to be very influential – let’s put it that way – on the energy committees in Congress and they tend not to be particularly sympathetic to alternative energy strategies,” he said.
Obama means that Congress’s unwillingness to pass new energy legislation is tied into the fact that fossil fuel industries are making so many campaign contributions. ThinkProgress quoted figures from OpenSecrets.org, that members of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources received political contributions totaling $6,219,543 from oil and coal industries. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) topped the list with $1,155,084 donations.
Obama said his administration has been criticized for “simple stuff that we’re doing, like trying to set up regulations to make appliances more energy efficient, which saves consumers money and is good for our environment, is somehow restricting Americans’ liberty and violates the Constitution.”
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“In some cases we’ve actually been criticized that it’s a socialist plot that’s restrict restricting your freedom for us to encourage energy-efficient light bulbs, for example,” he said.
The law he refers to is one that required incandescent light bulbs to be more efficient, which was passed during George W. Bush’s presidency.
Regulations on household appliances have also been criticized by the GOP.
In July, Reps. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Todd Rokita, R-Ind., blasted the Energy Department’s attempt to create energy standards for ceiling fans.
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"Nothing is safe from the Obama administration’s excessive regulatory tentacles," Blackburn said in a statement.
"This is a practical, hard-headed, smart, business-savvy approach to how we deal with energy and we should be investing in it and encouraging it," Obama said of his energy policy.