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Washington, DC – The California Democratic Congressional Delegation, in conjunction with their Democratic colleagues from other Western states today spoke out on the House floor on the Western energy crisis. Specifically, they protested the refusal of Republicans to allow consideration of an amendment that would provide refunds to Western constituents who were price gouged from the Enron-related market manipulation. The members, led by Rep. Anna G. Eshoo, sought to have the amendment included during House consideration of H.R. 4614, the FY 2005 Energy and Water Appropriations bill.
In response to a question from House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker Pro Temp of the House Dennis Hastert acknowledged that the House Rules Committee - chaired by California's Rep. David Dreier - could have chosen to allow Rep. Eshoo offer this amendment during debate on the bill.
“California and West Coast ratepayers are crime victims and after four years, citizens in the West have still not received the justice they deserve,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren. “Republicans are refusing to lift a finger to provide relief for West Coast ratepayers who were gouged. They are simply covering up for Enron,”
"We knew all along that Enron and the energy companies were gaming the system. The tapes of Enron traders confirm what we knew all along -Enron and the other energy companies were laughing all the way to the bank as they stole from the families and businesses of California. It is long past time for Enron to pay consumers and the states back. Today, Congress could have forced them to do just that. Unfortunately, the Rules Committee, chaired by Congressman David Dreier of California, did not allow us to try, " said Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. "Congresswoman Eshoo led the fight on the inclusion of a provision that forces FERC to release its evidence of corporate misconduct to the public. It is a critical first step in bringing justice to California consumers who were gouged by Enron and other energy companies, but it is not enough."
“We were successful today in lifting FERC’s veil of secrecy over Enron’s market manipulation. By opening the books on Enron, West Coast consumers will have a greater ability to receive redress from the crimes committed by the energy company. Our small victory today is overshadowed, though, by the Republican Party’s decision to deny us a vote on correcting one of the largest frauds in American history. This is the second time this year that we have tried to help West Coast ratepayers get refunds. Why will this Chamber not even allow the right to vote on the measure to recover some sense of justice? The House Leadership says they are concerned, but cannot even provide us with a date on which we could vote for refunds. The Leadership’s refusal to act has allowed Enron to keep the billions of dollars that they stole from West Coast ratepayers,” said Rep. Jay Inslee.
"Transcripts prove that not only Enron, but Reliant and other presidential protected corporate criminals manipulated West Coast electricity markets. Reliant relied upon West Coast representatives to vote to make sure that FERC does not do its job," said Rep. Brad Sherman. "In one famous quote, an Enron trader says: Grandma Millie wants her f...... money back for the all power jammed up her a... for f...... 250 dollars a megawatt hour. This November, we will witness Grandma Millie's revenge."