Michael Isikoff writes in Newsweek about an Obama Administration stance on revealing which bigwig execs visit the White House on business. The problem is that Obama’s lack of transparency in responding to a FOIA request regarding coal company executives resembles the stonewalling secrecy of the Bush Administration’s handling of similar requests.
As an Obama supporter and Obama voter I am equally elated and dismayed. In the case of energy policy, I’m elated we have a President who seems to be finally making the connection between our dependence on oil – foreign and otherwise – and environmental and national security issues. I’m dismayed by Obama’s refusal to honor public interest groups’ requests to know what coal companies are lobbying the White House on “clean coal” initiatives. The jury is out on the feasibility of clean coal technology and its practicality. As an Ohioan I want to support the coal industry. As an American concerned about pollution, greenhouse gases and the affordability of electricity I want to know more about where the federal government intends to invest clean coal funding and what to expect as a return on investment. As a cynic, I want to know what big spenders – be they coal companies or the Sierra Club – are attempting to game the political system.