Friday, October 9, 2009

The Washington Times reports that three utilities and two manufactures, Nike Inc. and Apple Inc., resigned from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because of the chamber’s fight against the proposed “cap-and-trade” legislation (“Backers of climate bill quit chamber,” Page 1, Tuesday).

I worked for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and its predecessor, the Federal Power Commission, for 32 years, and that experience taught me that no corporation or utility acts in the interest of the American environmental or social conscience. You can be assured that Nike, Apple and the three utilities want a cap-and-trade bill to pass the House and Senate because it will strengthen their position in the marketplace and increase their profits.

Nike has installed energy-monitoring devices in its manufacturing plants in China and Vietnam in an effort to cut energy consumption. That’s a noble effort, but even if Nike fails to cut its energy consumption, it will not be penalized by a U.S. cap-and-trade law because its energy consumption and its manufacturing take place outside U.S. borders.

Apple is in the same boat with its overseas production. It has undertaken a program to reduce the energy consumption of its finished products, but it will not suffer any impact to its profits due to passage of a cap-and-trade bill.

The three utilities that want to see a cap-and-trade bill passed are PG&E of California, Exelon Corp. of Chicago and PNM Resources Inc. of New Mexico. PG&E has been heavily invested in hydroelectric generation since it came into being and has significant nuclear power generating resources; both of these will be profit boons under a cap-and-trade bill. Eighty-three percent of Exelon’s electric generation resources are nuclear, which will make it a profit king under a cap-and-trade bill. PNM Resources is a 10-percent owner in the Palo Alto nuclear-generating station near Phoenix. All of these corporations have everything to gain and nothing to lose if the cap-and-trade bill becomes law.

These corporations don’t care one iota that cap-and-trade will greatly increase the cost of electric energy, all fossil fuels, all goods produced and all food grown or transported within the United States. They don’t care because their only consideration is their increased profits under cap-and-trade.

These corporations may talk a good game when it comes to energy conservation and environmental protection, but the motivation behind their corporate decisions is their bottom line and only their bottom line. I guarantee that Nike and Apple would rethink their positions if American consumers decided to boycott the products of all companies that are selling them down the river and supporting cap-and-trade.



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