How the Energy Industry Won the Battle for Influence in the Bush Admin.

It’s a fable for our times: When the Bush administration took office in 2001, a battle over energy policy began. On one side was the U.S. EPA, with its team of long-time career employees and its moderate new head Christie Whitman. On the other side was Vice President Dick Cheney, the Energy Department under Spencer Abraham, and the energy industry, eventually organized by lobbyist (and ex-GOP party chair) Haley Barbour into the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, with a helping hand from lobbyist (and future GOP party chair) Marc Racicot. Memos flew. Secret meetings were held. Bureaucratic infighting ensued. Three years later, the battle is all but over: The EPA has seen a rash of high-level resignations, including Whitman’s; members of the ERCC have donated more than $7 million to Republicans; and the energy industry is getting an awful lot of the changes it’s been pushing for, much to the dismay of enviros and officials concerned about public health.