- The Washington Times - Monday, October 12, 2009

Chu on Chamber

Energy Secretary Steven Chu thinks it’s “wonderful” that major corporations are leaving the Chamber of Commerce over its position on climate change.

Mr. Chu praised companies that have left the powerful business association by telling reporters at an event on solar energy held at the national Mall on Thursday “I think it’s wonderful.” Apple Inc. broke from the Chamber on Monday, following Exelon Corp., Pacific Gas & Electric and PNM Resources. Nike resigned its membership on the Chamber’s board earlier this month, but is retaining its membership with the group.

The Chamber has opposed the Obama administration’s push to cap carbon emissions in the United States, insisting instead that any climate-change regulations include “all major C02-emitting economies” in order to be effective and level the playing field for global businesses.

Mr. Chu was reluctant to encourage more companies directly to leave the Chamber in his question-and-answer session with reporters, but openly urged the Chamber to “realize the economic opportunity” that he thinks could be attained by drastically changing domestic energy policy.

“I think that companies like that - Exelon, for example - others are saying that we have to recognize reality,” he said. “In order to position the odd states in an economically competitive place and also to make the world minimize the dangers of significant climate change for our children and grandchildren, we’ve got to go in this direction. So they’re saying, we can’t be a party to foot-dragging, to denials to things of that nature, and this is part of our economic future in the odd states.”

Overreach

The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Marlo Lewis Jr. wasn’t as impressed about companies quitting the Chamber of Commerce. He said Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s “threatening” remarks about the Chamber’s position on climate change went “over the line” and called for him to apologize and resign.

He argued in a post on CEI’s Open Market blog that the Energy Department “does business with Chamber members.”

“DOE, therefore, has the power to affect the bottom lines of Chamber companies. But when Chu praises companies for leaving the Chamber, he is not only injecting himself into a quarrel that is none of his business, he is taking hostile action against the organization,” Mr. Lewis said.

“Let’s also not put blinders on here. Environmental lobbying groups are waging a campaign of intimidation against the Chamber because it refuses to put the short-term special interest of energy-rationing profiteers ahead of the long-term general interest of business in limited government, economic growth and affordable energy. Chu’s remarks make him a de-facto partner in this intimidation campaign.

“Most importantly, when Chu speaks, he speaks for the Obama administration, which wields vast regulatory and prosecutorial powers over the business community. It is precisely because the executive branch is inherently coercive that we expect Cabinet secretaries to avoid even the appearance of trying to suppress political dissent,” he went on to say.

No endorsements

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s editorial board announced Friday it would no longer endorse political candidates.

“We have heard from readers - and we agree - that you don’t need us to tell you how to vote,” the board stated. “What readers tell us they need is information on who the candidates are, what they have done and what they want to do in the new job.”

“Operation Hear Us”

The “Tea Party” protesters have an idea for another protest, and they’re calling it “Operation Can You Hear Us Now.”

They’re encouraging supporters across the country to protest “local left-wing media outlets” on Oct. 17.

Organizing information is posted on www.operationcanyouhearusnow.com, which includes a step-by-step manual for local event planners. One of the tips says: “If you have enough folks, visit multiple sites concurrently, otherwise pick your least-favorite liberally biased outlet as ground zero. Time it for max participation for the working (i.e. tax-paying) class. Before the AM news or at the evening 6 o’clock hour might be good (local time).”

Several of the confirmed target locations are at NBC and ABC local studios. Demonstrators in the D.C. area are planning to gather at The Washington Post that day.

Noted and quoted

“The only thing they’re going to be putting pressure on is the grass.”

- Rep. Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat and one of three openly gay members of Congress, disparaging Sunday’s gay rights march in Washington as a “waste of time, at best” in an interview with the Associated Press

• Amanda Carpenter can be reached at [email protected] washingtontimes.com.

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