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Presidential Documents
April 9, 2002
By Margie Burns

It is beyond-belief shocking to see executive orders GIVEN TO the President of the United States -- by anybody, much less by oil companies -- and then to see a president of this country obediently issuing the order he was asked to issue.

Yet that is exactly what happened, last spring.

On March 20, 2001, the American Petroleum Institute emailed the White House, telling it what to say. On May 18, 2001, President Bush complied, issuing Executive Order 13211, "Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Distribution, Supply, or Use" (Federal Register, Vol.66, No.99, pages 28355-28356).

The email was sent by Mr. Jim Ford, federal regulations director at the American Petroleum Institute. (Mr. Ford was part of President Bush's "advisory team" for the Environmental Protection Agency, during the Bush-Cheney transition into office). It went to Mr. Joseph Kelliher, Senior Policy Advisor at the Department of Energy. (Mr. Kelliher has now been nominated by President Bush for a position on the Federal Energy "Regulatory" Commission.)

If any freshman in a college composition class submitted an essay with these equivalencies, the student would flunk the assignment for plagiarizing:

Email: "All federal agencies shall include in any regulatory action that could significantly and adversely affect energy supplies, distribution, or use, a detailed statement on (i) the energy impact of the proposed action, (ii) any adverse energy effects which cannot be avoided should the proposal be implemented, and (iii) alternatives to the proposed action . . . The agencies' actions directed by this Executive Order shall be carried out to the extent permitted by law."

President's Order: "(a) To the extent permitted by law, agencies shall prepare and submit a Statement of Energy Effects to the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, for those matters identified as significant energy actions. (b) A Statement of Energy Effects shall consist of a detailed statement by the agency responsible for the significant energy action relating to: (i) any adverse effects on energy supply, distribution, or use . . . (ii) reasonable alternatives to the action with adverse energy effects and the expected effects of such alternatives . . ."

The American Petroleum Institute goes so far as to provide the definitions of terms:

Email: "'Regulatory action' means any substantive action by an agency that promulgates or is expected to lead to the promulgation of a rule, regulation, or policy, including, but not limited to, notices of inquiry, advance notices of proposed rulemaking, notices of proposed rulemaking, and guidance documents."

President's Order: "'Significant energy action' means any substantive action by an agency {normally published in the Federal Register} that promulgates or is expected to lead to the promulgation of a final rule or regulation, including notices of inquiry, advance notices of proposed rulemaking, and notices of proposed rulemaking . . ."

Note that this rule orders federal agencies to LET THE OIL COMPANIES KNOW, any time something WILL BE COMING that they may not like - thus sparing energy lobbyists the bother of looking up regulations and knowing law. (White House staffers may have prided themselves - touchingly -- on eliminating that redundant legalese "but not limited to.")

Even the formal language of Executive Orders, the magisterial solemnity of the Oval Office, is thoughtfully provided by the API:

Email: "By the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America . . ."

President's Order: "[ DITTO ] . . ."

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