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GOP: Gushing Over Polluters

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By Rob Perks. Originally posted on The MarkUp.

We've seen this before. Energy industry executives and their lobbyists meeting behind closed doors to concoct a polluter wish-list of policies aimed at rolling back regulations that protect America's natural resources and our health - at our expense.

Under the reign of George W. Bush, this is precisely what happened when Dick Cheney convened his secret energy task force. Now, Republican politicians are banking on reprising that polluter-friendly strategy if the GOP "takes back" Congress in November.

As reported by Politico, top Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are preparing for a GOP takeover -- by meeting with dozens of energy and telecom lobbyists.

According to the story:

Ranking member Joe Barton of Texas, potential 2011 GOP panel leader, Michigan's Fred Upton, and Reps. John Shimkus of Illinois, Mike Rogers of Michigan and Greg Walden of Oregon met Wednesday with 40 to 50 industry officials during an event at the National Republican Club.

An industry source in the room said the meeting wasn't billed as a fundraiser. But the lawmakers' message tacitly linked donations to the committee agenda in 2011 if Republicans regain control of the House.

"You should be giving us money because we're going to be in charge," the source said. "We'll ensure there is no climate bill. But at the same time, they think they'll build nuclear plants and more clean coal."

No need to sidestep. After all, these politicians all dance to the same choreographed number, which could be dubbed "The Big Polluter Boogie Woogie." And it sounds like Rep. Joe "I apologize to BP" Barton (R-TX) is calling the tune.

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