Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer

For Immediate Release:
November 20, 2003  
Washington D.C. Office (202) 224-3553

Statement of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer on the Defeat of the Energy Bill  

This energy bill is wrong for America, and I am extremely pleased that we have defeated it.

It fails to provide adequate consumer protections, it fails to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and it fails to protect our environment. It is a $30 billion giveaway to the biggest multinational corporations, and a slap in the face to consumers.  

When it comes to consumer protections, this energy bill is shamefully deficient.  

This bill abandons the principle of polluter pays by providing polluters with a get out of jail free card in the form of a MTBE liability waiver. This waiver shields MTBE producers from having to pay if their product pollutes ground or drinking water supplies. Who would be left holding the bag for the $29 billion in cleanup costs? Ordinary taxpayers and our cash-strapped states.  

Never mind that 43 states already have ground or drinking water supplies contaminated with MTBE. Never mind that MTBE is a suspected carcinogen that has been linked to Leukemia, Lymphoma, and testicular cancer. The Republican Energy Conferees didn’t care about that.  

They chose to give a get out of jail free card to their friends at big oil, rather than protect the American people. Fortunately, the Senate has defeated this egregious proposal.

This energy bill does nothing to help California and the people of the West Coast who were ripped off during the Energy Crisis.  

We could have told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to order refunds to the tune of $9 billion. We didn’t. We could have ordered the renegotiation of long-term electricity contracts. We didn’t do that either. At the very least, we could have strengthened consumer protections to prevent Get Shorty schemes in the future. We didn’t even get that done. 

The bill fails to secure our energy future in many other ways– there are no new fuel economy standards, no increase of renewable sources of electricity, and no acknowledgment of the harmful effects of global warming.

Basically, this energy bill caters to special interests, and turns the government’s back on the American people.