It was a deeply political speech, meant to pre-empt Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich's positions on energy-related issues. The Stevens campaign, learned a lot from their abuse of the senator's appearance before the Hispanic Affairs Council of Alaska. It was identified to HACA's board as an appearance as our Senator, but the campaign then splashed pictures and commentary of the HACA event, along with commentary about Stevens' concerns about the Hispanic community all over his campaign web page. The campaign soon had to remove the stuff.
Today's political opportunity by Stevens isn't referenced at the campaign page. But his Senate web site has an article about it, along with the text of the speech. Mark Begich's campaign site already had a response up by mid-afternoon. I'll get back to that.
I've got to admit that Sen. Stevens, in this speech, pissed me off less than he has in any speech or statement of the past three years. I almost felt proud of him a couple of times. And I misted up a tad, as he described his "vision" near the end of the speech. But I felt these emotions and feelings between episodes of saying "bullshit!" aloud at his image on the screen. And then I got sad again, as he started having serious trouble with words.
Ted's talk was called "Energy Crisis." I don't know if he authored the speech, but he is one of the main authors of the energy crisis itself. The five elements of response to the crisis he spoke of are, in his words:
- domestic production to increase the supply of oil and gas
- development of renewable and alternative energy sources
- conservation and more efficient use of energy
- reduction of litigation which delays energy projects
- regulation of market manipulation.
Senator Stevens, with the exception of his role in getting the Trans-Alaska Pipeline built, has done very little to expand domestic production. In his leadership role in the six years his party controlled the all three branches of government, from 2000 to 2006, he failed utterly - along with Rep. Don Young, to broker a congressional deal that would open ANWR. Failed utterly.
He has not been helpful in creating more incentives to expand renewable energy production and helping homeowners and drivers find and buy useful ways to use what renewable energy tools are available.
Regarding conservation, he's never brought that up until recently. He has helped suppress congressional implementation of higher CAFE standards for vehicle fuel mileage.
As to reduction of litigation, apart from his attempts through kinds of tort reform to immunize large corporations from paying for damages they cause, I've rarely seen him involved in anything meaningful in this realm.
And the last item, regulation of market manipulation, his statements on this in the speech were so meritricious and self-serving, I was disgusted.
The Begich campaign's response, while commenting on the entire speech, concentrated on the last element:
“Sen. Stevens has had several chances to crack down on oil speculators that are helping drive up the price of oil and he hasn’t done it,” Begich said. “It’s important to remember the votes he has taken that are costing Alaskans every day as they work to fuel their vehicles and heat their homes.”
I"n December 2000, the “Enron Loophole” was inserted into the Consolidated Appropriations Act at the last minute while Stevens was Chairman of the Appropriations Committee. The provision deregulated the energy markets by exempting electronic energy trades from federal regulation. The provision bypassed the usual committee hearing and vote process and was streamlined into the legislation by Stevens.
"In 2002, Stevens voted against an amendment that would have provided regulatory oversight of energy trading markets. In 2003, Stevens voted against two amendments to protect electric ratepayers from manipulation of energy market and ensure consumers are protected from false information. Then again this spring, Stevens voted against the Consumer-First Energy Act"
I've covered this latter issue extensively here. It is very important, both to Alaskans, and to Americans. Sen. Stevens, by allowing these speculators - the majority of whom are foreigners - rob the American people of hundreds of billions of dollars, has helped move that money out of our country, out of our now staggering economy.