Republican Convention Day 1: Big Polluters Take the Stage
The Republican National Convention offers many of the country's most powerful lobbyists from the oil and coal industry the opportunity to mix and mingle with the politicians their massive campaign contributions have been supporting for so long -- and that's just ON the stage at the Convention.
As Tampa prepares for the coronation of Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee, the speaking schedule for the first full day of the Convention is packed with candidates and elected officials who haven't just been taking their lead from big polluters -- they've also taken their talking points. In fact, convention organizers are even letting some of the biggest polluters step up to the microphone themselves.
While Big Oil is throwing a lavish private party to celebrate Romney on Thursday, big polluters won't have to wait until then to visit the candidates they've invested in. Here's a quick run-down of who's who from the dirty energy world on stage tonight:
- Tonight, the chief lobbyist for America's coal industry is actually in charge of the Convention's credentials. Mike Duncan was named as the new President of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity just last week. Though its name refers to a product that doesn't exist due to it being scientifically impossible, the organization serves as the lobbying and public relations wing for the coal industry. But the new job of lobbying for some of the country's biggest polluters isn't getting in the way of Duncan's role at the RNC, where he chairs the Credentials Committee and will speak tonight.
- Politicians who've taken more than $4.4 million in campaign cash from oil, gas, and mining companies will speak on the first day of the Convention alone.
- Earlier this year, North Carolina State Representative David Rouzer authored climate denial legislation that effectively prohibits the consideration of scientific studies referencing the worst impacts of climate disruption. Today, he'll take the stage at the Republican National Convention.
- And, leading the way for the first night is Speaker John Boehner, one of the top recipients of big polluter dollars in Congress and the person in charge of what has been named the most anti-environmental House of Representatives in history.
It's not the first time big polluters have been given high-profile roles in the effort to elect Mitt Romney. Romney named an oil executive as his chief energy adviser and had a Shell Oil board member debate for him at a recent energy issue forum. Last week, Romney raked in nearly $10 million at fundraisers with dirty energy executives in Texas. Then, two days after asking for their "input" on his own energy plan, he released policy proposals that read like they were copied directly from the big polluter playbook: throwing open public lands to more drilling and mining, gutting the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to protect our air and water, and keeping in place the billions in tax subsidies oil companies enjoys every year.
Romney made his dirty energy priorities crystal clear when he released his energy plan. Now, his Republican National Convention seems set on celebrating them, no matter the cost to everyone else.
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