$1.5 Billion Giveaway Secretly Slipped into Energy Bill, Waxman Says
I am writing to draw to your attention a provision in the Energy Conference Report that raises serious procedural and substantive concerns. At its essence, this provision is a $1.5 billion giveaway to the oil industry, Halliburton, and Sugar Land, Texas. The provision was inserted into the energy legislation after the conference was closed, so members of the conference committee had no opportunity to consider or reject this measure. Before the final energy legislation is brought to the House floor, this provision should be deleted....
The subtitle appears to steer the administration of 75% of the $1.5 billion fund to a private consortium located in the district of Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Ordinarily, a large fund like this would be administered directly by the government. The subtitle, however, directs the Department to "contract with a corporation that is constructed as a consortium." The leading contender for this contract appears to be the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA) consortium, housed in the Texas Energy Center in Sugar Land, Texas. Halliburton is a member of RPSEA and sits on the board, as does Marathon Oil Company. The subtitle provides that the consortium can keep up to 10% of the funds - in this case, over $100 million - in administrative expenses.I can't even see straight, right now.
The subtitle further provides that members of the consortium, such as Halliburton and Marathon Oil, can receive awards from the over $1 billion fund administered by the consortium.
In short, the subtitle provides that taxpayers will hire a private consortium controlled by the oil and gas industry to hand out over $1 billion to oil and gas companies. There is no conceivable rationale for this extraordinary largess. The oil and gas industry is reporting record income and profits. According to one analyst, the net income of the top oil companies will total $230 billion in 2005. If Congress has an extra $1.5 billion to give away, the money should be used to help families struggling to pay for soaring gasoline prices - not to further enrich oil and gas companies that are rolling in profits.