October 28, 2004

Bush cronyism

SEATTLE, Oct. 27 -- The Bush administration has proposed giving dam owners the exclusive right to appeal Interior Department rulings about how dams should be licensed and operated on American rivers, through a little-noticed regulatory tweak that could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the hydropower industry.

The proposal would prevent states, Indian tribes and environmental groups from making their own appeals, while granting dam owners the opportunity to take their complaints -- and suggested solutions -- directly to senior political appointees in the Interior Department.
. . .

"It is not legal because one party is being treated very differently than another, and that is very much the opposite of what we have been trying to do for years," said one senior Interior Department official who is involved in the dispute and who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation. "Suddenly, a licensee can walk away from everybody else and have a private meeting with the assistant secretary and bring in new conditions that haven't been reviewed by anybody before."

Posted by Carey at October 28, 2004 07:41 AM