Americans have the right to
petition government officials as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. “ Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Lobbying – defined narrowly by
those who must register with Congress – is a $3.4 billion industry. But when the cost of grassroots efforts and of strategic advisers are all counted, total spending on influencing policy in Washington approaches $9.6 billion a year, he estimates. Center for Responsive Politics
Bloomberg News determined that 3,300
lobbyists signed up to work on healthcare and that more than 1,500 organizations have healthcare lobbyists. Spending on healthcare lobbying was $263.4 million in the first six months of 2009, according to CRP figures.
Natural Gas Looks for Champions
to Gain Incentives in Senate Climate Bill Natural gas producers are trying to make up for lost ground in the climate change debate, appealing for allocations and incentives in the Senate bill that would boost the consumption of the fuel. But their message -- and past campaign donations -- have so far inspired few Democratic senators to make a stand on the inclusion of more natural gas incentives, as others have done for coal, agriculture and nuclear power.
Gore-Backed Car Firm Gets Large
U.S. Loan A tiny car company backed by former Vice President Al Gore has just gotten a $529 million U.S. government loan to help build a hybrid sports car in Finland that will sell for about $89,000. The award to Fisker has prompted concern from companies that have had their bids for loans rejected, and criticism from groups that question why vehicles aimed at the wealthiest customers are getting loans subsidized by taxpayers. "This is not for average Americans," said Leslie Paige, a spokeswoman for Citizens Against Government Waste, an anti-tax group in Washington. "This is for people to put something in their driveway that is a conversation piece. It's status symbol thing."
Senators Plan Bill To Advance
Net Neutrality Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.) said in an interview Monday that he and Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) are considering legislation aimed at helping advance the adoption of new rules on net neutrality. Such a bill could be a timetable or deadline for the Federal Communications Commission to finish its rule-making process, said Dorgan, the senior member on the Commerce Committee. Last week, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski proposed rules that would prevent telecommunications, cable and wireless companies from blocking or slowing Internet traffic related to specific applications or services
AT&T vs. Google: Does net
neutrality cross industry lines? So what does it mean to be a telecom service provider, or more specifically, and in the most legalistic terms possible, a “carrier?” That’s the question in the latest tiff between AT&T and Google, with AT&T calling the Google Voice service to task with the FCC because although the service routes and forwards calls it also chooses to block some higher-cost calls, such as calls to certain rural communities. That violates the principles of net neutrality, AT&T claims. Google countered by saying it’s not a network service provider at all, but a software application, and thus not covered by net neutrality.
Exelon Leaves U.S. Chamber Over
Climate Dispute One of the nation's largest electric utilities, Chicago-based Exelon Corp., won't renew its U.S. Chamber of Commerce membership in a dispute over the business group's position on global warming, a company spokeswoman said today. Exelon is the third utility to leave the chamber. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and New Mexico-based PNM Resources Inc. announced their departures last week. "Inaction on climate is not an option," Rowe said, according to excerpts provided by Exelon. "If Congress does not act, the EPA will, and the result will be more arbitrary, more expensive, and more uncertain for investors and the industry than a reasonable, market-based legislative solution."
2,000 Anglo coal job loss
if Aussie climate-change law goes ahead More than 2 000 Anglo American coal jobs would be lost through premature mine closure should the Australian government go ahead with its carbon pollution reduction scheme (CPRS), Anglo CEO Cynthia Carroll has warned. Carroll told a mining club in Brisbane that CPRS would also put Australian coal mines at a major competitive disadvantage. Coming out fighting against Australia's proposed system of emissions trading for anthropogenic greenhouse gases, Carroll said: "I fear that, as it stands, the scheme does not take proper account of the reality of the technological challenge we face in finding commercial solutions."
Liberal Groups Target Baucus on
Public Option Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America, two liberal groups advocating for a public option as part of health care reform, are targeting Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus of Montana in a new ad airing Tuesday in his home state and Washington, D.C. The ad features a local Montana father who has over $100,000 in medical debt because he has no health insurance, and can’t get any because of a congenital heart condition. “ Private insurance companies need competition. They profit by denying care to people like me. Sen. Baucus, when you take millions of dollars from health and insurance interests that oppose reform, and oppose giving families like mine the choice of a public option, I have to ask: ‘Whose side are you on?’”
L.A.'s ban on new digital
billboards and supergraphics is upheld A federal judge refused Monday to halt enforcement of the Los Angeles City Council's newest outdoor advertising law, which bars the installation of new digital billboards and multistory supergraphic signs across the city. Liberty Media had asked Collins to issue an injunction blocking enforcement of the new law and forcing the city to allow 16 new signs. One billboard foe had feared that a ruling against Los Angeles would have had greater ramifications, opening the door to scores of new signs by other advertising businesses. "My feeling was that if she ruled in favor of Liberty Media, the sign companies would be lining up outside the Building and Safety Department to get permits," said Dennis Hathaway, president of the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight.
California recycling measure may mean
higher deposits and better returns If Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signs the measure into law, consumers will pay an estimated $295 million more per year on beverage containers. Opponents call the Legislature's proposal a hidden tax, the product of years of botched fiscal management. "It's a backdoor tax increase," said Sen. George Runner (R-Lancaster). Recycling advocates concede that the larger deposits won't pay for new programs. But they say extending deposits to more than 5 billion containers annually will curb the waste that ends up in landfills. "This crisis created an opportunity to expand and improve the recycling program," said Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste, a nonprofit recycling group.