Obama’s Secret Meeting With the Oil Industry

Sometimes I come across information that isn’t publicly known. That occasionally happens because I am digging, and I uncover something newsworthy. I can generally report on those kinds of things. But sometimes it is because someone sends me information that is confidential – or they tell me something they learned in confidence. That has happened a couple of times with some of the biofuel companies I have written about. In those cases, I would never use such inside information. While I appreciate the knowledge that my intuitions were correct, it also hampers me from being able to objectively write about those companies in the future.

A particular example I will name (but not the only one) is that of Range Fuels. I have written about them in the past, and while I am a fan of gasification, I don’t think gasification to produce ethanol is the right path. But if you search through my blog, you will find that I have not written much about Range Fuels. Why? Because two different people have passed on sensitive information to me that compromises my ability to criticize the company. Now if I write that I expect Range Fuels to be wildly successful – or not – my writing could be influenced because I know some things that aren’t public. So, I play it safe and generally don’t say much about Range Fuels – even though they would appear to fit the criteria of a company that I would normally focus on.

Such was the case with some juicy information I received last year. In July of last year I received the following tip: Presidential candidate Barack Obama had summoned some of the CEOs of the top oil companies to a secret meeting to talk about energy policy. I knew who was at the meeting, and I knew what the meeting was about.

Some may know that Vice President Dick Cheney also summoned a number of energy executives to private meetings at the White House in 2001, and he had been criticized heavily over the secret meetings:

Document Says Oil Chiefs Met With Cheney Task Force

The task force’s activities attracted complaints from environmentalists, who said they were shut out of the task force discussions while corporate interests were present. The meetings were held in secret and the White House refused to release a list of participants. The task force was made up primarily of Cabinet-level officials. Judicial Watch and the Sierra Club unsuccessfully sued to obtain the records.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who posed the question about the task force, said he will ask the Justice Department today to investigate. “The White House went to great lengths to keep these meetings secret, and now oil executives may be lying to Congress about their role in the Cheney task force,” Lautenberg said.

So now we had Obama conducting secret meetings with Big Oil, but the press didn’t seem to have wind of it. I had a possible scoop on the story. The only problem was that I was asked not to divulge the information. So, I waited until it hit the press. And I waited. And I waited until now, almost a year later. I have finally seen the story in the press for the first time. Not surprising to me that Washington Post reporter Steven Mufson would have the story:

How Obama Made Energy Platform ‘Pop’

After a long day of campaigning on July 8, candidate Barack Obama arrived at his Chicago headquarters for a three-hour brainstorming session about a suddenly hot issue: energy and climate change.

He had summoned a cross section of experts, including top executives from three utilities and two oil companies, the chief energy economist of an investment bank, a climate scientist, a California energy and environment expert, an oil consultant-historian, and several campaign staffers. Despite the late hour, one participant recalled, “He walked in as if he had just gotten up after a refreshing night’s sleep to lead a class. He was clearly there to harvest information and then do something with it.”

My version is slightly different from this. I was told that the meeting happened in D.C. – not Chicago – and it happened on July 10th – not July 8th. Not sure which of those versions is correct [RR: My source has sent me a note correcting previous statements; the meeting was in Chicago on the 8th, although there was a similar meeting on the 10th in D.C.], although I got the information very close to the source. Otherwise, the description of the meeting is consistent with the information I had been given.

To be clear, the Washington Post story isn’t about uncovering a secret meeting with energy industry executives. That bit is just the preamble to the story of how Obama’s energy policy crystallized into a high-profile part of his campaign. Oil and gas prices were headed to record highs, and Obama wanted input from energy insiders on how to tackle energy problems (although I was told that he did most of the talking).

So how will partisans react to this news? Will those who denounced Cheney for his secret meetings now do the same for Obama? I had seen endless speculation that the Cheney meetings were all about carving up Iraq for the oil companies to loot. This, despite there being no public details about the meeting available. Once again, the Washington Post finally broke the news of who some of the attendees were to Cheney’s meetings:

Papers Detail Industry’s Role in Cheney’s Energy Report

Provided a copy of the list, Cheney’s office said he would not comment on it. “The vice president has respectfully but resolutely maintained the importance of protecting the ability of the president and vice president to receive candid advice on important national policy matters in confidence, a principle affirmed by the Supreme Court,” spokeswoman Lea Anne McBride said by e-mail.

Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, who unsuccessfully pushed for details of the meetings, said it is “ridiculous” that it has taken six years to see who attended the meetings. He described the energy task force as an early indicator of “how secretively Vice President Cheney wanted to act.”

Waxman said he was not surprised to see the prevalence of energy industry groups on the list of meetings. “Six years later, we see we lost an opportunity to become less dependent on importing oil, on using fossil fuels, which have been a threat to our national security and the well-being of the planet,” he said.

One thing that fueled the speculation was that Cheney fought to keep the names of the participants and the discussions that took place a secret. But that certainly didn’t stop the speculation that the meetings were for planning the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the subsequent division of the spoils among the oil companies.

Don’t get me wrong. I am glad Obama summoned energy executives to these talks. To formulate a good energy policy you had better be engaging those who provide the energy. I am also sensitive to the fact that this could have been unpopular with his supporters. But I suspect that those who suggested sinister motives behind Cheney’s meetings won’t do the same over Obama’s meetings.

45 thoughts on “Obama’s Secret Meeting With the Oil Industry”

  1. Mr. Rapier, the criticism was not merely that Cheney talked with oil companies and others in secret. It was that he talked with them in secret and then put forth an energy bill consisting of tax breaks aimed at the industry, with a focus on raising domestic energy production.[1] This coupled with this fact that the industry had contributed millions of dollars to the Republican party and Bush’s election campaign; it was a heckuva an ROI for those companies.

    All that I have stated above is not an argument that the bill’s priorities and methods, or the energy task force’s recommendations, were wrong. I have supplied no evidence of that. But it was the conjunction of the two facts — Cheney met with them in secret; the proposed bill benefited them greatly — that raised questions of improper influence.

    Now, a question ain’t an answer. One might support such tax breaks and deregulation efforts for principled reasons. Indeed, Republican ideology does tend to support such policies. But the interests were aligned in such a way that the industry directly benfited.

    The perception is that the industry’s interests and Democratic ideology are not so aligned, that they are in fact in opposition, because Democrats favor and rely on the money and votes of green groups which oppose the industry. That is why Obama’s meeting is not regarded as immediately suspicious.

    Now, perhaps this perception is incorrect. Certainly the industry donates to both sides. And if Obama comes out with an energy bill consisting largely of tax breaks and deregulation efforts aimed at increasing domestic energy production, certainly the same questions should be raised. And if they aren’t — well, then you’d have the press dead to rights on its hypocrisy. For the moment, though, I don’t think you quite do.

    [1] for instance, see this lengthy article from the Boston Globe http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2004/10/04/energy_bill_a_special_interests/

  2. Obama softened his position on drilling after that meeting, so one could make the case that there are parallels to Cheney.

  3. Poor diablevert! Did your heroes toes get a bit stepped on by Robert?

    It is pure fact that Obama’s public and private positions, in the style of all politicians, are not the same.

    Campaigns are meant to be won – not lost through honesty – regardless of what the shysters claim.

    I have even come to not distrust Obama quite so much as it becomes apparent that much of what he said on the campaign trail was just rubbish for some of his early supporters to lap up.





  5. I am still waiting to find out if Obama is going to, or has met, with the natural gas guys.
    The oil guys are dinosaurs.
    The action is with the NG guys.
    BTW, Obama’s “secret” group–some utilities, a couple oil guys, an investment banker, a climate guy, and some more — is not a bad mix.
    But it seems like NG was not in the mix. Our most promising and rapidly growing source of fossil fuels.
    I would call that a fundamental lapse.
    Also, the Cheney group met in secret with a powerful Administration official to make policy.
    The Obama goup met to think and learn about policy, during a campaign. Not really the same animals.

  6. Candidate for office with zero responsibilities under sunshine laws


    Sitting vice president inviting industry insiders to grab the helm of federal policy making while keeping their idenities secret.

    It’s bizarre to see you attempt to equate a single campaign strategy-session with a systematic campaign to privatize policymaking in secret.

  7. Yeah, RR, the more I think about it, I think this “secret” Obama meeting is a dud story.
    Did Cheney have a climate scientist along when he made policy?
    It seems Obama was trying to get a mix of views, to think about devising a policy. He left out the natural gas guys, and that was a mistake, I think.
    PS I happen not to be in the AGW camp. But I like to see a mix of opinions. And Obama’s Energy Secy, Chu, seems very smart too.

  8. If you took the number of people who think the people are “sheeple” as a share of the human population, my guess is that they represent well over 90%.

    Given that’s the case, clearly many of these elect free-thinking, courageous, independent, and individual cats who cannot be herded are not, in fact, people, but “sheeple” themselves, incapable of recognizing their own, bravely soldiering on by defacing their mirror image.

    Will you see hypocrisy on the left in the next four years? Oh yes. Will many in the left feel guilty about it … probably not … I mean, did you see how the GOP has behaved for the last, oh, thirty years? The last eight were truly extraordinary, btw.

  9. Perhaps a better word to describe the Obama meeting would be a “private meeting”. In other words he didn’t invite the Press.

    Why should he?

    Obama went to the “energy briefing” to get a handle on energy problems. The composition of the meeting is known. This was a “brain-storming” session — just a briefing.

    I voted for Bush-Cheney, but I must say, in all fairness, that this sounds like nit-picking to me.


  10. “In other words he didn’t invite the Press.”

    Or GREENPEACE! For that matter, my dentist was not invited to meet with the energy taskforce either.

    There used to be a steaming news show on the Internet called Energy News Live. Everyday they would interview those that had briefed the VP. On one day they even interviewed the CEO of the company I worked for at the time.

    These meeting were followed with a public document called the NATIONAL ENERGY POLICY, May 2005. It is a document worth reading for anyone interested in energy matters.

    Public hearing and debate then followed. Energy News Live covered that too. After reading any new RFP (request for proposals), I would tune into the noon report on the hearings at 9 am PST. It was a little shocking on 9/11 when the camera panned around to catch a airplane hitting the Pentagon.

    Also available on the internet and in the Federal Registrar is the legislation and regulation. I read a large fraction of the 2005 Energy Bill and analyzed the cost and benefit. It was both transparent and a good investment for Americans.

    On energy issues, Bush was very open for those who wanted to listen. Open government does not do any good if you refuse to listen and debate.

    It is now June and O has no energy policy for us to debate.

  11. The news media can keep the president’s secrets, no problem. They are sympatico.

    In addition, Chicago politics is played a bit differently than most people understand, so far.

    Brocko Bomba runs quite an organisation. Cross Brocko and you may wake up with a horse’s head sleeping beside you.

    Brocko understands how to make you an offer you can’t refuse.

    Resistance is futile.

  12. Neither one of those bums invited either me or my dog, let alone my “dentist”

  13. .

    Anonymous armchair261 said…


    Consider these two periods:
    Boom = 1980-1985
    Bust = 1986-1990

    Thanks for your pains-taking efforts. I will go over the figures.


    June 01, 2009 6:18 PM

  14. "It's bizarre to see you attempt to equate a single campaign strategy-session with a systematic campaign to privatize policymaking in secret."

    June 01, 2009 11:48 AM

    Walker has it right……………


  15. Absolutely fascinating!

    I have seen this happen on other blogs, where a diverse group of people gather to discuss matters of shared interest. Eventually, someone puts out something that can be interpreted as being ever so slightly critical of He Who Cannot Be Named.

    Next thing, some previously unknown poster slaps up a wall of type defending the ONE Who Blesses Us All by Deigning to Breathe the Same Air.

    Who is paying for this scrutiny of every blogger under the sun? Who is paying for the rapid response team? The Chinese? The Saudis? Those evil German automobile manufacturers?

    Come on! Spill the beans. Enquiring minds want to know!

  16. Oh Kinu, I am making Big Bucks sticking up for Obama. Soon, I will own the Panama Canal and maybe even the Chicago Cubs.

  17. The National Energy Policy Act of 2005 … all 2,000 pages of it … was transparent and a good investment for America???? … You must be joking.

    Whole teams of people were hired by the IOCs to figure out what the hell it meant for them and they didn't know six months out from its passage.

    Took the GOP until 2005 to put together a "energy policy" and you criticize the current administration for not having something coherent in 5 months?

  18. BTW, Range Fuels is having serious problems with yield and specificity. They are struggling to get their 10 million gallon per year facility up and running. Toast.

    Coskata is also tanking.

  19. My mistake Bud, NATIONAL ENERGY POLICY was May 2001 which is different than the 2005 Energy Bill. It is not like I was intentionally trying to trick you Bud. It is clear that Bud has not read either.

    No Bud, I am not joking. So Bud if you would like to take a few minutes and do some reading of it I will be happy to explain any part that you do not understand. I do know who the IOC are and why they would have to hire a team to figure out something.

    Furthermore, I think it is fair to criticize O for not having a coherent policy. After all, that is kind of this tread is about. Bush was savaged while O is getting a free pass.

    The good news Bud is that the US already has a coherent energy policy. All O has to do is not screw it up. So far he is failing.

  20. Imagine if Cheney had convened a private meeting on the health industry… and invited doctors, insurance CEO’s, and (shudder) managers of hospitals. Horrors.

    Suppose he convened a private meeting of alternative energy specialists, with an objective to accelerate research and development, and out of that meeting a few subsidies and revisions in tax code were created as incentives. It goes without saying that palms were illegally greased, correct? Our friend diablevert seems to be telling us that tax incentives to increase domestic production could not possibly have been a legitimate thing to do. Or maybe I’m too sensitive. 🙂

    Benny, BTW all of the majors and large independents are also in the domestic natural gas business. I’m sure NG was well represented.

  21. “It’s bizarre to see you attempt to equate a single campaign strategy-session with a systematic campaign to privatize policymaking in secret.”

    Yes, that would be bizarre if that was what I was doing. But it isn’t. You, and some others, are missing the broader point.

    This is neither a blanket defense of Cheney, or a criticism of Obama. I am not fan of Cheney; the man has to have one of the lowest likability factors of any public official ever. But I never saw anything sinister in him privately meeting with people in the energy business.

    In private meetings, people can speak frankly. That is why, I presume, that Obama chose to have private meetings. But I suspect if it had been McCain that had these meetings, and it was just now seeping out into the press, there would be a much bigger uproar because of the expectations that oil companies in private meetings equates to shenanigans.

    As I said, I am quite happy Obama met with these officials. They got to make some points, and they didn’t have to do it with a public audience harshly judging every comment.


  22. To me this story is more about the double standard for Bush and Obama. Obama meets with oil company executives = pragmatic, Cheney/Bush meet with oil company execs = evil.

    Kit and Kin make good points. Less than 4 months into his first term, Pres. Bush produced the National Energy Policy Which it seems that few (besides myself) have ever bothered to read. Now almost 6 months into Obama’s first term – we get Government Motors.

    Diablevert cries foul and that this was some sort of “play to pay” document. Please Diablvert, quote chapter and verse in the NEP or STFU. Yes, Bush called for opening more areas in the US for exploration, but he also called for:

    * Increasing CAFE standards (pg 4-9)
    * Tax credits for fuel efficient vehicles (4-10)
    * A 15% tax credit for residential solar (6-17)
    * Tax credit for hybrid vehicles (6-18)
    * Expanding wind, solar, and geothermal on federal lands (6-17)
    * Dedicating 1.2 Billion$ of lease fees from the 1002 area for alternative energy research (6-17)

    Further, the Energy Task Force did meet with 13 environmental groups on April 4.

    As I have said before, if the Obama administration took the 2001 Cheney task force document, changed a few words and dates and reissued it as its own work I have no doubt that it would be heralded as the most wonderful document EVER.

  23. So Cheney meets with CEOs and executives who are experts at running energy businesses to help draft energy policy.

    Who does Obama turn to when he needs expert advice on turning around a major US industry:

    The 31-year-old in charge of dismantling GM

    But after all, he did sleep in his car in the GM plant in Lordstown, Ohio. So I guess that makes him qualified.

  24. Did I not read the article correctly? Is Deese actually charged with turning around GM, or just making policy recommendations and sort of administering the bureaucratic side of things?

  25. RR-
    You still seem to be missing the main point: When Cheney held secret meetings, it was with a limited industry audience, and he was a powerful (maybe the most powerful) Administration official. Policy was made in this manner.
    Obama met as a candidate, a information-gathering session, and with a mixed group, including a climate scientist.
    Still, I think Obama’s energy policy gets only a “C.” He is not brave enough to say we need gasoline taxes.

  26. upstart – you read it wrong. Deese was the only member of the automotive task force for about 6 weeks. It seems he singlehandedly convinced the administration to back a Fiat bailout of Chrysler. And he met personally with Rick Waggoner of GM. Who knows, maybe he told Obama to fire Waggoner.
    The Chrysler-Fiat deal sort of reminds me of what? American Motors – Renault Perhaps Deese doesn’t remember this disastrous combination because it happened the year he was born!

    Again, if Bush had put a 31 year old former staffer from the Heritage Foundation in charge of something you can imagine a quite different reaction.

    Is there NO objective criticism of the Obama administration. IS it just me that believes these people are totally and utterly clueless?

  27. King, you left one important part of the NEP off your list, making AGW mitigation an administration priority. It is amazing how critical of Bush policy people like Benny are without ever bother to learn what it was.

    “Cheney held secret meetings”

    What secret meetings? The meetings and what was discussed were the subject of many news reports. King just provided a link but Benny keeps repeating DNC talking points.

    The second problem with dems is that failing gets a grade of “C”. I know self esteem is important to dems but keeping the heat going in winter is a lot more important. There are consequences for failure. Ask Grey Davis!

  28. Kingo-
    Oh, I criticize Obama, and have done so in this location.
    But remember, he is in a three-pronged war (Iraq, Afghanie and Pakistand, oh wait Iran too, so it is four-pronged) on terrorism and on pan-Islamic fascism, which wants to crush America, Western civilization and kill us, especially Texans.
    When you criticize Obama, you undermine his efforts to preserve our way of life, and show treasonous tendencies. Be very careful of what you say, very careful.

    Sound pretty silly, right? Sounded silly before too. In fact, Obama has broadened our Mieast war efforts, into Afghanie and possibly Pakistan. He is fighting a more-ambitious set of wars on terrorism than Bush.

    Still, I encourage dissent, and do not call anyone with a different point of view a traitor.

    Keep bashing Obama. But he did inherit a train wreck, from the Middle East to our domestic economy. An maybe, just maybe (we can all hope) the U.S. economy is showing signs of coming out of it.

  29. Kit P. references this:

    The NEPD Group recommends that the President direct federal agencies to support continued research into global climate change; continue efforts to identify environmentally
    and cost-effective ways to use market mechanisms and incentives; continue development of new technologies; and cooperate with allies, including through international processes, to develop technologies, market-based incentives, and other innovative
    approaches to address the issue of global climate change.

    (Chapter 8 of the 2001 NEP.)

    Benny – I am criticising Obama for letting a 31 year-old policy hack with no business experience essentially run a whole industry. Bankruptcy is the appropriate venue for solving business failures in a capitalist economy. And yes, Bush shouldn’t have thrown GM the lifeline either. What happened yesterday was purely political – to protect the UAW and its campaign machine. Government Motors sold its European Opel division with an agreement that Opel not import cars to the US. Such anti-competitive behaviour would send a CEO to prison.

    If Obama has his plate full, then why push climate change legislation? Socialised medicine? Can’t he prioritize? Insead he chooses to fight wars while remaking the US into France or 1960’s Great Britain.

  30. Hey, give the 31-year-old a chance. I was once 31 years old…I think.

  31. Sorry Robert, but this post looks like a rather lame attempt at party politics. You don’t trust lefties, we know that.

  32. “You don’t trust lefties, we know that.”

    That’s far from true. Many of my positions are lefty. And many people consider me lefty. In fact, I am probably just left of center except for my positions on energy issues.


  33. “In fact, I am probably just left of center except for my positions on energy issues.”

    Most people like to imagine that they are in the “center” — whatever that means. Even Obama probably thinks he is a moderate, as he stumbles along a path that veers from fascism (government control over the use of private property) to Marxism (outright government ownership of the means of production).

    Your position of willful ignorance on alleged Anthropogenic Global Warming, Robert, is pure tribal Democrat — which is not the same thing as being left of center.

    Apart from that, your positions on energy seem defensible. But why would you imply that the generally sensible postions you hold on energy are not pretty close to “center”? Are you implying that the political “center” is in some ways quite extreme?

  34. June 02, 2009 2:59 PM
    Blogger takchess said…

    "I don't recall any bloggers talking about this Dec 08 DOE report on CHP/Cogeneration. I would be interested in reading a post on it if you are every inclined to do it."

    Thanks, I am reading the report you mentioned. I think they are doing some of this CHP in Europe already. (Holland ?)


  35. Takchess, CHP is very cool, DOE reports are lame.

    “By capturing and utilizing waste heat,”

    No actually! First off stream power plants heat do not have waste heat. Waste implies there is a use for the heat rejected by the condenser. Think of it this way. I have some coffee grounds headed for the compost pile. If any out there would like to come over and chew on them to make sure there is no waste. No takers, does not sound very appealing. How appealing would it be to live next a power power plant so you can use 90 degree F water to heat your house in the winter.

    Here is an example of CHP. Say you have a boiler to produce 250 psi steam for your chemical plant. Put another additional unit of energy in to get 500 psi steam. Run that steam in a turbine and that unit of energy can be recovered as electricity while 250 psi steam from the first unit of energy can still be extracted.

    This DOE report panders to the concept of using an inefficient ICE and recovering heat from the flue gases. This a particularly good idea if you happen to have biogas and and a need for heat.

  36. Let me try again.

    Candidate for office


    Sitting VP

    The point is not who he met with or whether the points discussed are shared publicly, the point is that when an elected official who will not even say who he met with, public trust is eviscerated. This wasn't a meeting about weapons or military plans, things that are themselves secret; Cheney's meetings were about public policy.

    If Pres. Obama or VP Biden claim the right (the right that Cheney got his buddy Nino Scalia to create for him, talk about your activist judging) to meet on public policy questions in federal buildings and keep the participants secret, then they deserve all the same criticism.

    But candidate Obama's skull sessions are simply not comparable in any way to VP Cheney's giving the keys to his buddies in Oil.

  37. "Candidate for office


    Sitting VP"

    So then Obama would have much more to gain by selling out. He could make certain promises in order to gain support. Cheney was already in office. See, one can get carried away with speculation, which is the point.

    "But candidate Obama's skull sessions are simply not comparable in any way to VP Cheney's giving the keys to his buddies in Oil."

    Again, that's just the point. People didn't have a clue what Cheney was up to, but they jumped to conclusions as you are doing here. On the other hand, you don't know what Obama's sessions were all about, but you have jumped to conclusions there as well.


  38. "Your position of willful ignorance on alleged Anthropogenic Global Warming, Robert, is pure tribal Democrat — which is not the same thing as being left of center."

    Well, we all have to make choices of what we are to be willfully ignorant about. I am willfully ignorant about a lot of things – as we all are – but I tend not to stand on soapboxes regarding those issues.

    "Apart from that, your positions on energy seem defensible. But why would you imply that the generally sensible postions you hold on energy are not pretty close to "center"?"

    I don't say they aren't close to center, but they are right of center. When I look at the energy policies advocated by the Nancy Pelosis and Chuck Schumers of the world, my positions are at total odds with theirs.

    My position on universal health care would be left of center, as would be the case on a number of social issues. Business issues in general would be to the right of center. Average them all out and I am dead center. 🙂


  39. Kip,
    I don't think all the conclusions and info from the DOE publication are as lame as you might think. There are some interesting stats about total energy usage, what increase cogeneration would mean.
    Business has found alot of these projects with out gov help because they are in the business of making money.I'm interested in the viability of doing increasing more.

    I imagine that it you capture the "waste heat" from a primary process, it might make the primary process require more energy to do it primary goal. Can you confirm this?

    It seems every energy sources has it's sweeping statements that fall down when looked at it practicality of the moment:

    We could grow 1000 gallons per acre of algae oil
    If we could harvest 1% of the suns rays
    By capturing a small amount of the oceans power

    You get what I mean…..

    And used coffee grounds, they go in my garden. Not the higher purpose of making coffee but useful just the same.

  40. Robert,
    You big tease. I am much more interested in what you know about Range Fuels, than in what you know about the well publicized secret meetings of politicians.

  41. The point is not who he met with or whether the points discussed are shared publicly, the point is that when an elected official who will not even say who he met with, public trust is eviscerated.

    The point was entirely about who Cheney met with. The Democrats decided to play politics with energy policy. The whole purpose of the task force was to come up with the National Energy Plan, and its recommendations. Rather than read the report and debate the merits of the recommendations, the left vicerally attacked Cheney over who he met with.

    President Bush put Dick Cheney, a person very knowledgeable and experienced about energy issues, in charge of coming up with the strategy. Obama puts a 31-year-old political hack whose entire CV is campaign work, in charge of restructuring the auto industry.

    The point of this post is that the double standard couldn't be clearer. Because Obama has the right politics, he can do the same things that Bush did and gets a free pass from the press and anyone on the left.

  42. Kit P. – another pretty good point. Environmentalists love to talk about combined heat and power and district heating as an energy saving strategy, but would be the first in line to protest if you actually tried to build a power plant in their neighborhood.

  43. Look, if you guys want to concede that meeting with Big Oil is prima facie evidence of criminality, go ahead.

    Me, I think civilian policymaking has no business being conducted in secret. You can keep your conversations confidential but refusing to even disclose the identity of meeting participants is absurd.

    And, yes Robert, our system of private financing for campaigns is an open invitation to legalized bribery, which is why we got such a corporate-friendly guy as Obama Inc.

  44. Takchess

    The DOE CHP is more than lame. RR has asked me to tone it down, so I will apologize in advance. The authors of this DOE report are either ignorant or dishonest. This document appears to promote CHP to the public and not to those who might actually use it. Certainly there is nothing new here for an engineer.

    “I'm interested in the viability of doing increasing more.”

    Funny thing, CHP has been a standard engineering practice for 100 years. From a mechanical engineering point of view nothing has changed. Control systems have improved. Can you use a Capstone turbine or fuel cell to make electricity and hot water at hotel? Yes! Will an insurance company let you sycn to the grid unattended in a building full of guests? Personally, I would not put CHP in my house for safety reasons.

    Making electricity is a full time job, not a hobby that I recommend.

    “Can you confirm this?”

    Yes, that is the whole point of CHP. Put more energy in, to get more energy out more efficiently.

    DOE dwelled on the free lunch aspect of CHP. Buy more equipment to make a simple process more efficient but more complicated. More complicated means more maintenance. The first time there is a $5000 repair bill to save $100 of energy, the CHP equipment gets bypassed.

    DOE makes stupid choices with your money. I have proposed energy efficiency improvements that were rejected because of ROI. Give me a generous government grant and I can make an improvement in a project economics.

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