Exxon Fined $20 Million for Polluting our Air: Sanders Has a Bill to Protect Our Air
May 1, 2017 Alexandra Jacobo / Nation of Change
ExxonMobil has been ordered to pay nearly $20 million in fines after finding that one of the company's chemical plants released millions of pounds of pollutants into the environment. Between 2005 and 2013 Exxon gained more than $14 million in benefits by failing to follow provisions of the Clean Air Act. Senators Jeff Merkley, Bernie Sanders and Ed Markey, along with climate movement leaders responsible for the People's Climate March, announced legislation calling for 100% clean energy by 2050.
Exxon to Pay $20 Million
For Violating Clean Air Act 16,386 Times Alexandra Jacobo / Nation of Change
(April 29, 2017) -- A Texas judge has ordered ExxonMobil to pay nearly $20 million in fines after finding that one of the company's chemical plants released millions of pounds of pollutants into the environment.
The ruling was part of a suit brought against the mega-corporation by Environment Texas and the Sierra Club in 2010. The groups argued that Exxon failed to implement technology to curb emissions at its facility in Baytown, Texas. Between the years of 2005 and 2013 Exxon gained more than $14 million in benefits by failing to follow provisions of the Clean Air Act.
Judge David Hittner sided with the environmental groups. His findings include the fact that Exxon illegally released more than 10 million pounds of pollutants between 2005 and 2013.
The final ruling found Exxon violated the Clean Air Act 16,386 times, with each violation carrying a fine of up to $37,500 per day. Judge Hittner fined the company $1.4 million for the pollution and $19.9 million for penalties, an amount that was proposed by the two plaintiffs.
Neil Carman, clean air program director for the Sierra Club released a statement saying:
"Today's decision sends a resounding message that it will not pay to pollute Texas. We will not stand idly by when polluters put our health and safety at risk."
Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas, stated that he believes the ruling is "the largest penalty resulting from a citizen suit in U.S. history" and "It means that private citizens victimized by the world's biggest polluters can get justice in the American court system, even when government regulators look the other way."
Of course Exxon disagrees with the ruling and may appeal. The company told Reuters in a statement:
"We disagree with the court's decision and the award of any penalty. As the court expressed in its decision, ExxonMobil's full compliance history and good faith efforts to comply weigh against assessing any penalty."
"The impacts of #climatechange are upon us. We cannot afford to take small, incremental steps. We need a bold vision to #ActOnClimate now."
-- Senator Jeff Merkley
"Donald Trump is wrong about a lot of things, but there is no area where he is more wrong than on the issue of climate change."
-- Senator Bernie Sanders
(April 28, 2017) -- Senators Jeff Merkley, Bernie Sanders and Ed Markey, along with climate movement leaders responsible for this weekend's People's Climate March, announced new legislation that would call for 100% clean energy by 2050.
The impacts of #climatechange are upon us. We cannot afford to take small, incremental steps. We need a bold vision to #ActOnClimate now.
The piece of legislation, called the "100 by '50 Act" calls for a complete removal of dependence on fossil fuels, while creating a plan to support workers and low income communities, especially those that rely on the fossil fuel industry for jobs, in a transition to clean energy sources. It also plans to end new fossil fuel investments, increase clean energy-based grid storage and create more "green" jobs.
They are calling the bill "the most ambitious piece of climate legislation Congress has ever seen."
"Mr. President, your job is to listen to the scientific community, which is virtually unanimous in telling us that we have got to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy," Bernie Sanders said.
The legislation has also been sponsored by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) as well as 12 different climate concern groups, including the Sierra Club and the hosts of this weekend's People's Climate march, the League of Conservation Voters.
The "100 by '50 Act" would stop all new fossil fuel infrastructure projects, such as the famous Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines. Instead, funding would go to new clean energy projects, which would include four million jobs.
Of course the bill's supporters aren't fooling themselves. As Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, stated: "This bill won't pass Congress immediately -- the fossil fuel industry will see to that -- but it will change the debate in fundamental ways."
This bill is unlikely to pass during the Trump administration, but it is a great step forward, as well as a good foundation for state and local government to build on.
"Donald Trump is wrong about a lot of things," Sanders said, "but there is no area where he is more wrong than on the issue of climate change."
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