Two Americas:

The Energy Industry and their Political Power and Influence


by Brian Pearson
Member of the Coalition for the Responsible Siting of LNG Facilities
Fall River, Massachusetts

Introduction

As Vice Presidential Candidate John Edwards has said, “there are two Americas.” Fall River Massachusetts and
the surrounding area is a great example of what Senator Edwards is talking about. This paper has been
produced by the Coalition for the Responsible Siting of LNG Facilities to demonstrate what is now taking place in
the United States but on a smaller more local scale. We hope the reader will come away with a better
understanding of the tremendous power that the oil and gas industry now has and how the citizens of this nation
are slowly losing their authority over their government and their future.

Our government, if we can actually use that term at all, has become more responsive to a minority who truly hold
the power. A handful of corporations from several different industries not only influence elections with their vast
reserves of cash but they now influence the federal government by the key positions that ex-employees now
hold. This paper will strive, and we believe succeed, in demonstrating that the power is no longer with the people
but in the hands of the powerful. We thank you for taking your time in reading “Two Americas”.

                                                              
  Fall River Massachusetts

The small mill city of Fall River Massachusetts sits quietly on the banks of the Taunton River. For years the city
has been battling against a self inflicted negativity that has given people from outside the city a bad perception
of the community. For many of the inhabitants of this community of 92,000 people, the main aspiration is to find
a job that will pay enough so that they can afford an apartment, raise a family, and in a few years have enough
money to put down on that dream home. The population is made up of a diverse group of people, some who can
trace their ancestry back several generations whether from England, Ireland or Canada while many others are
newcomers to these shores. In the last 50 years hard working immigrants from the Azores, Brazil, Lebanon,
Cambodia, Puerto Rico and Central America have all called Fall River their home.

Life has been rough for the residents of Fall River. Many have worked in the city’s textile mills which are called
sweatshops by the locals. The pay was low but the camaraderie among the workers made the grueling jobs
bearable. The fathers and mothers of Fall River struggled each week to pay the bills and then save the few
pennies they could so that life for their children would be better than it had been for them. Over the years the
people of Fall River started to realize that life in their community could be better and that there is more to their
existence than renting an apartment and living from paycheck to paycheck. They looked around Fall River and
realized that they could improve their lives and enhance the city at the same time. Neighborhood associations
formed to battle against crime and cleanup their own tiny section of the city. An environmental organization,
Green Futures, came into being and led the charge to enrich the quality of life in Fall River by protecting the
environment and improving the surroundings. An art group, the Narrows Center for the Arts, has introduced
artists and their talents to Fall River and the neighboring area.

The city has stepped forward with a grand vision for its waterfront. The goal is to make the waterfront of Fall
River a place where families will go to relax, play and live. No longer will dilapidated buildings, mills, and shacks
spoil the view but instead a bike trail is being planned, a tree lined boulevard, restaurants, marinas, and homes
will line the Taunton River. This vision has already taken its first few tiny steps. A beautiful pedestrian walkway
that gently hugs the river has been completed. Each day young couples, senior citizens, and families can be
seen strolling along the walkway. It winds through Heritage State Park, a sliver of green that is the site of evening
concerts and summer festivities. On a sunny day people from throughout the area bring their lawn chairs to this
spot to view a nightly spectacle, a breathtaking sunset. The sunsets at Heritage State Park range from a brilliant
gold to a deep, dark red. There are days when the colors are so rich you can almost see our Lord painting the
rich colors in layers across the horizon.

Our waterfront is also home to the Commonwealth’s World War II memorial, the Battleship Massachusetts. Here
the city and the state honor the sacrifices of the men and women who fought valiantly to protect our nation.
Adjacent to the battleship new businesses have taken root. The Marine Museum, the Narrows Center for the
Arts, and a railroad museum have all added and improved the quality of life of the citizens.

                                                                 Why Fall River?

Fall River has clawed and struggled to earn the respect due her. She has improved her image by deciding to
travel on a different path in regards to its waterfront. Now the Federal Government in the form of the Federal
Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the greed and avarice of
Amerada Hess, Weaver’s Cove and the law firm of Baker Botts would like to stop the progress the city has made
and once again burden the city with an industry that will take away the beauty, the safety, and the peace the
citizens of Fall River now posses.

These companies and government agencies have targeted the city of Fall River as a site for an LNG terminal.
Comparing the Fall River site to any other proposed LNG location in the country or any existing LNG terminal
one would have to wonder, “Why Fall River?” The proposed site in Fall River is 25 miles inland from the Atlantic
Coast. The route would force the LNG tanker to travel under 4 major bridges. The entire route has many tiny
coves and inlets which are accessible to speed boats that can be used by terrorist. Coming up Mount Hope Bay,
Narragansett Bay and the Taunton River one can see that the waterway narrows and lining the shore are a
multitude of family homes. By the time the tanker reaches Fall River the river becomes very narrow and only a
few hundred feet will separate the ship from the shoreline. At this point we have numerous tenement buildings,
single family homes and large mill buildings all containing thousands of men, women and children.

The LNG terminal site abuts a residential area and is only 1,200 feet away from the nearest homes. No where
else in the United States is there a current or proposed LNG facility that will be so close to human habitation!
The question must be asked again, “Why Fall River?”

                                              Federal Agencies and Political Influence

The answer to the question: “Why Fall River?” is an easy one. Amerada Hess, Weaver’s Cove, the Baker Botts
law firm, the FERC and the DOT all thought that the citizens of Fall River would be a push over when it came to
siting this dangerous facility. They did not realize that the people in this area have a deep respect and love for
the community. They did not realize that the mothers and fathers would fight to protect their families. They did
not realize that the people would spend thousands of hours researching the dangers of LNG. They did not
realize that the citizens could not be bought off by offering money to a poor community as Judas was bought off
by the Romans. Unfortunately for the citizens of Fall River the companies involved in this project still had an ace
up their sleeve and that ace is called the Federal Government.

Our great country has been compromised by several industries, one being the Oil and Gas Industry. No longer
can we say “We the People” it is now “We the Corporations”. These huge conglomerates have taken control of
some of our governmental agencies. Before Amerada Hess and Weaver’s Cove hired Baker Botts the people of
the Fall River area had never heard of this law firm, but we learned quickly who they are and who they represent.

                                                           
    Baker Botts Law Firm
                                                                    
  Puppet Master

It turns out that the Baker Botts law firm is one of the most politically influential and powerful law firms in the
entire world. When it comes to the oil and gas industry the Baker Botts law firm are the “go to guys”. With their
widespread contacts in Washington and around the world they specialize in setting up deals, working on
government regulations, and making political connections, whether in our federal government or in  foreign
governments. The senior partner of the firm is James Baker, the former Secretary of State under President
George H. W. Bush. Members of Baker Botts have been appointed to very powerful and influential positions
during the previous Bush administration and the current administration.

It appears that whenever a Bush is in the White House the law firm of Baker Botts is there pulling some of the
strings. Back in the early 90’s George W. Bush was investigated for possible wrong doing in regards to Harken
Energy shares he sold just prior to the stock plummeting at the stock market. At the time Mr. Bush was a Board
of Director of the company and had accessibility to information on the weakness of the company. Security
Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations require that the sale of stock by a company director be promptly
reported. The SEC received the necessary documents 8 months after the sale and launched an investigation.
They interviewed the accounting firm for the company, the infamous Arthur Andersen Company, and took boxes
of documents from Harken Energy. What the SEC did not do was subpoena records, talk to George W. Bush or
other Harken directors or officials. In the end the SEC concluded that it would be difficult to establish that Bush
possessed material nonpublic information when he sold his stock. In reality the CFO of Harken Energy had sent
out a memo just weeks prior to George W. Bush selling his stocks stating that Harken “will deplete all available
cash to pay payroll and other basic needs.”

During the investigation Bush had hired Attorney Robert Jordan, who at the time was a senior partner at the
Baker Botts law firm. Mr. Jordan has recently been picked by George W. Bush to be the ambassador to Saudi
Arabia.

Over at the SEC, the agency investigating Bush, the chairman was Richard Breeden who had been appointed by
Bush senior. Breeden had also been President George H. W. Bush’s assistant for issues analysis and prior to
that Mr. Breeden was a partner at the Washington office of Baker Botts! The SEC’s General Counsel, who would
be responsible for any litigation initiated by the commission, was James Doty. Mr. Doty was also a veteran from
Baker Botts! Today James Doty is back at Baker Botts and is working for the Haliburton Corporation (Vice
President Dick Cheney’s former corporation) investigating a bribery scandal in Nigeria.

These days the Baker Botts law firm continues to have former employees in very influential positions. Across the
United States many oil and gas firms are pushing hard to site LNG facilities whether on shore or offshore. The
power to site an LNG terminal in the United States rests with two agencies, the FERC and the DOT. The DOT
has a large say in the matter when it comes to interstate transportation of the LNG. The Deputy Secretary of the
DOT, the second most powerful person at the agency, is Kirk Van Tine. Mr. Van Tine is also a former attorney
for the Baker Botts law firm. Over at FERC, the agency overseeing the regulations dealing with the terminal
itself, the Chairman is Patrick Wood III a former Baker Botts attorney. Both appointments were made by George
W. Bush.

A special note must be made of Pat Wood III. Mr. Wood was recommended to George W. Bush on two occasions
by Ken Lay of the Enron Corporation. During his days as Governor of Texas George W. Bush was asked by Mr.
Lay to appoint Mr. Wood as chairman of the Texas Utility Commission, which he did. As president George W.
Bush was again contacted by Ken Lay, this time he recommended to Bush that he name Mr. Wood as the
chairman of FERC. One obvious reason is that Pat Wood III has been a fighter for deregulation which came in
handy for the Enron Corporation and other energy concerns when questionable energy deals were done in
California. This clearly demonstrates, to the Coalition for the Responsible Siting of LNG Facilities, that the
energy companies have a direct pipeline into the FERC office in Washington.

During the 1999 / 2000 presidential campaign the Baker Botts law firm donated $113,621 to the Bush campaign.

As for the senior partner of the firm, James Baker, he and two other lawyers represented Presidential candidate
George W. Bush during the Florida recount. Baker Botts was paid nearly $600,000 for the work they did during
the recount fiasco. Nowadays Mr. Baker has been picked by the Iraqi Governing Council to help restructure the
Iraqi debt which is believed to be between $130 billion to $150 billion. Although Mr. Baker has ties with many
firms such as the Carlyle Group and of course Baker Botts he did not have to disclose his personal financial ties
since he was not picked by the President for the debt restructuring job. In addition Baker has close ties with the
Saudi government which is owed at least $30 billion by Iraq.

As mentioned before the new ambassador from the United States to the Saudi government is a former Baker
Botts attorney. One last side note, members of the Saudi royal family, banks and businesses have been hit with
a lawsuit from the family members of the victims of the 9/11 tragedy. The Baker Botts law firm is representing
members of the Saudi family in court against the victim’s families.

                                                     Political Power / Political Influence


The federal government and the Bush administration have placed former Baker Botts attorneys in other very
influential federal government jobs. Claude Allen is the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health and
Human Services; Angela Styles, Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy; John P. Elwood,
Counselor to the Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice, Criminal Division; and J. Bruce
McDonald, Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the U.S. Department of Justice.

Many members of the Coalition for the Responsible Siting of LNG Facilities feel that these Washington D. C.
connections at the FERC and the DOT give Amerada Hess and Weaver’s Cove through their lawyers, Baker
Botts, an inside track and undue influence on our government.

We have proven over and over that to locate an LNG facility anywhere along the Taunton River would be foolish
for many reasons. One major reason is that it is too close to residential areas. All anybody has to do is read Dr.
James Fay’s reports on the damage such a facility would do to homes and business’s lining the shore. In
addition Professor Jerry Haven’s reports tell the same story, destruction could be widespread. Most importantly
the FERC’s own report from the ABS Company demonstrates that a major LNG spill could cause a catastrophe
to a city such as Fall River or a town like Somerset. It clearly states that a gas cloud could travel anywhere from
6,000 to 18,000 feet away from the spill. Remember, there are homes only 1,200 feet away from the facility.

In 1979 the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO), which acts as the investigative arm of Congress, researched
the LNG issue. GAO Director J. Dexter Peach testified before the Senate and said, “We believe remote siting is
the primary factor in safety.”

In addition to Mr. Peach speaking before the Senate Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey said recently,
“When Congress passed my LNG safety bill back in 1979, it directed the Department of Transportation (DOT) to
prescribe standards for the siting of new LNG facilities that were supposed to consider the need to encourage
remote siting.”

It is obvious to the residents in this area that the political influence by the oil and gas industry through their law
firm is outweighing the damaging scientific information that has been published, not only privately but by the
government agency (FERC) itself.

While the FERC continues to ignore the damaging reports the local political leaders have spoken out on the
issue. The mayor of Fall River has come out in opposition to the project along with the Fall River city council.
The local state delegation is opposed and so is the Massachusetts Homeland Security and Federal Affairs sub-
committee and the entire state House of Representatives and Senate have signed onto a resolution against this
foolish idea. In addition Congressman Barney Frank and Congressman James McGovern have opposed the
idea. In the surrounding area the selectmen in the Massachusetts towns of Somerset, Swansea and Freetown
are all opposed and so are the Rhode Island towns of Portsmouth, Tiverton, Bristol, Jamestown and Newport.

                                                                           Closing

At the beginning of this paper we said that there are two Americas and we believe we have proven that point.
There are so many negatives when it comes to the siting of an LNG facility in Fall River or the surrounding area
that many of the residents felt that the chance of anyone actually doing it was zero. This was before we learned
about the political power and influence we are facing. We hope that you, the reader of this paper, will spread the
warning about the federal government and how they are ignoring the people of this country in the name of
greed, corporate profits and political power.



Contact Information

Brian Pearson
886 Cherry St.
Fall River, MA 02720
508-678-3814
btrekman@mindspring.com

Web Page for the Coalition: www.nolng.org

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