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Some Summer Summit

The latest fashion in blowing off steam seems to be to hold a public “summit“. If you want to get together and bellyache about how poorly you have been treated, you hold a gripe session and call it a “summit”. I’m really not against a public display of outrage and yammering, but I’m not sure you can call it a “summit”. The latest example is the Montana Energy Users Summit to be held July 22 in Bozeman. A summit is a gathering of heads of state, or chief executives that get together to work out conflicts, negotiate and prepare strategies to resolve problems. The Energy Users Summit of course is not a summit at all. It is a gathering of like-minded people from the energy industry who are getting together to complain about the American Clean Energy & Security Act passed earlier this month by the House of Representatives. ACES, or the Waxman-Markey bill, includes a Cap and Trade provision which is almost universally opposed by energy producers because it will cut into their handsome profits. The bill was lauded by many environmental and climate-change advocacy groups as well, which just further pissed off conservatives. Since the energy lobby got through with the ACES bill, it has become pretty innocuous, but right now it’s the only game in town that might help combat climate change. A past Bugle article gives a more comprehensive overview of the bill.

The Bozeman conference, sponsored by the Montana Growth Network and the Montana Chamber of Commerce and funded by the energyfair industry, will be a chance for industry representatives to whine about how much money they will loose if we try to save the environment. A favorite ploy at these meetings is to bring in “experts” from out of state to explain to us rubes why they are right and we are wrong. We need outside help, because we are really just too stupid to figure out the ramifications by ourselves. The keynote speaker for the energy summit will be Kenneth Green, resident scholar for the American Enterprise Institute. AEI is a conservative, pro-business think tank that was one of the primary architects of Bush Administration policies. AEI has received $1.8 million from Exxon since 1998 and has such non-partisan fellows as Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton and Lynne Cheney. Green is a well-known climate change denier who held positions at the Fraser Institute and the Reason Foundation, which also receive ExxonMobile funding.  His primary view is that saving the earth from climate change must inevitively result in destroying the economy.

So you see, there is nothing summit-like about the Bozeman meeting. They have no intention of entertaining opposing positions or ideas. Their only object is to present a single-sided argument against any kind of cap and trade system and to convince you that you aren’t intelligent enough to come to your own conclusions. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to criticize only conservative or pro-business organizations. Liberal and environmental groups use exactly the same tactic. But, the meeting should be interesting. It’s free to attend and if you are a like-minded neo-con it might even bolster your ego. But, let’s not call it a “summit”, let’s be honest and call it what it is, a pep rally or a revival meeting.

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