Power Plays: The Bipartisan Origins of Energy Deregulation

Image by Matthew Henry.

Shortly after Sen. John Kerry sewed up the delegates needed to seize the Democratic nomination for president in the spring of 2004, he huddled for two hours with James Hoffa, Jr., the boss of the Teamsters union. The topic was oil. The Teamsters wanted more of it at cheaper prices. They had suspicions about Kerry. After all, the senator had already won the backing of the Sierra Club, who touted him as the most environmentally enlightened member of the US senate.

Hoffa emerged from the meeting sporting a shark-like grin. Hoffa and the Teamsters had long pushed for opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling and for the construction of a natural gas pipeline to cut across some of the wildest land in North America from the tundra of Alaska to Chicago. “Kerry says, look, I am against drilling in ANWR, but I am going to put that pipeline in, and we’re going to drill like never before,” Hoffa reported. “They are going to drill all over, according to him. And he says, we’re going to be drilling all over the United States.”

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Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His most recent books are Bernie and the Sandernistas: Field Notes From a Failed Revolution and The Big Heat: Earth on the Brink (with Joshua Frank) He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net or on Twitter @JeffreyStClair3

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