GOP House Declares War on Environment

July 22nd, 2011 - by admin

Energy Action Coalition & Greenpeace USA – 2011-07-22 00:51:44

GOP House Declares War on Environment
Quantesa Roberts / Energy Action Coalition

(July 21, 2011) — Last week, the House of Representatives passed a number of anti-environment bills, including an amendment to 2012 Energy and Water Appropriations Act to repeal light bulb efficiency standards and a bill to roll-back the safeguards of Clean Water Act including a $967 million cut in the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Funds, which help states and cities pay for sewage treatment and drinking water.

The current appropriations bill also continues the agenda to gut the EPA. Some of the cuts include an 18% reduction in the EPA budget and non-spending provisions, or riders, that will prevent the EPA from protecting our air and water and protect mountaintop removal and offshore drilling.

Cuts to environmental programs are also expected as a result of the debate over the debt ceiling.

In the Senate a group of bipartisan Senators have introduced legislation that would delay EPA regulations on industrial boilers. The Senators say that the regulations will impose higher cost on the facilities and result in a loss of jobs. However, according to the EPA the regulations “will prevent thousands of deaths and heart attacks at a reasonable cost to industry.”

Coincidentally (not really), the members of Congress voting for the anti-environment proposals have also received significant contributions from big oil.

On Monday, Greenpeace released a new report, “Polluting Democracy” naming 15 members of Congress who are doing more to protect the interests of big polluters instead of their voters.

The members have consistently prevented the EPA from improving pollution standards in coal-fired power plants. The list includes Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) who has received a staggering $655,547 since 2000 from the fossil fuel industry and presidential hopeful Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) who has taken in $131,980 since 2006.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) who sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, urged Energy Secretary Steven Chu to launch a national climate-change-education campaign. Waxman said the public’s understanding of climate change is “diminishing” in part because there are “powerful vested interests in the oil and coal industries successfully fanning disbelief.”

One possible target for the campaign should be Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney who recently backtracked on his previous statement about the effects of greenhouse gases. At a town hall in New Hampshire, Romney said:

I don’t think carbon is a pollutant in the sense of harming our bodies…. My view is that the EPA getting into carbon and regulating carbon has gone beyond the original intent of the legislation. I do believe we should reduce the pollutants that harm our health.

Meanwhile… we are experiencing the effects of climate change as temperatures are reaching record extremes and many parts of the world are suffering from severe droughts and food crises.

I think Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) summed it up quite nicely, “some days it’s like watching a wrecking crew tear down a building, breaking the whole thing to pieces before anyone realizes what they’re up to.” These assaults on the environment will continue. The only way to put a stop to it is to keep up the pressure and make sure our voices heard, or perhaps we can just wait for Captain Planet to save us!

Polluting Democracy
Coal Plays Dirty on the Hill

Greenpeace USA

WASHINGTON (July 18, 2011) — This report provides a sampling of the actions of a bipartisan cadre of 15 politicians, who are among those in the House of Representatives working for America’s dirty and decrepit coal-fired power industry. These 15 members have tried to stop EPA from modernizing standards for pollutants that come predominantly from coal-fired power plants, including mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, greenhouse gases, and coal ash.

Except for the one fresh- man, these members of Congress are in the top 25% of those receiving money from the fossil fuel industry. Many are in leadership positions within Congress. The actions reviewed for these 15 politicians were opposed to the health of people in their own districts.

The majority of the ancient US coal fleet has not installed easily available technology that could reduce mercury pollution by 90%. Coal combustion is responsible for most US mercury pollution. Mercury contributes to thousands of deaths annually and may adversely affect the development of over 400,000 babies per year.

Mercury exposure is a serious problem for the lungs, brain, heart, stomach, kidneys, and immune system. Much airborne mercury often falls back to the ground and waterways within only 100 or so miles, but it can be re-emitted into the air, float down streams, and accumulate in animals since mercury cannot be digested.

Read Polluting Democracy here.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.