OK, there's more than a little irony in Rep. Nick Lampson, the Texas Democrat who holds Tom Delay's old seat, supporting one of Delay's most expensive pet projects:
Texas congressmen Nick Lampson (D-Stafford) announced Saturday the finalization and signing of a 10-year, $375 million U.S. Department of Energy research and development contract that will be managed in Sugar Land.
The Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America, a non-profit consortium of research institutions and energy companies, will manage the project from its Sugar Land headquarters. RPSEA is expected to award research contracts to universities, research institutions, national laboratories and industry partners, Lampson said at a press conference at offices RPSEA shares with the Texas Energy Center.
This contract was a particularly controversial part of the 2005 energy bill. Between RPSEA and the Texas Energy Center, there was Delay-connected muck at every turn. Last year the President went so far as to single this project out in calling for cutting tax breaks and funding for the oil and gas industry (although he had already signed the bill containing those very same tax breaks and funding--but that's another story).
So why didn't Congress heed the President's call to ax this program last year? Apparently then-candidate Lampson intervened:
Melanie Kenderdine, vice president of the Gas Technology Institute and a RPSEA board member, said Lampson was instrumental in rescuing the DOE program in May 2006, when [Rep. Ed] Markey [D-MA] offered an amendment in Congress to kill the project.
She said Lampson, who was campaigning for the seat he ultimately won in CD-22, took time out to âeducate his past and future colleaguesâ in the House about the benefits that would accrue from the project RPSEA now will manage.
âWhen I found out there were no limits to what could be done with this research money, it was easy for me to contact Markeyâ¦,â Lampson said. âI was able to get them to understand it was not just an oil subsidy . . ."
So Democrats were actually persuaded to support Tom Delay's boondoggle by Delay's Democratic successor. That's pretty rich.