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We Said Run the Country, Not Ruin It


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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
14 October 2011, 2:45 PM
House of Reps steers country toward the rocks

Somewhere along the road from their home districts to their offices in Washington, D.C., our Congressional representatives got their wires crossed. The American public sent them forth with a mandate to run the country, but instead, they're ruining it.

Toward the end of September, the House passed the first piece of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's (R-VA) Toxic Agenda: H.R. 2401, the so-called TRAIN Act—an absolute wreck of public policy. It ties to the tracks and threatens to run over two clean air standards that would prevent up to 51,000 premature deaths every year and generate $420 billion in annual economic benefits by cleaning up dirty coal plants.

Does America support Cantor's agenda? Do we want to board a crazy train bound for a future of dirty air, more disease and shorter lives? The answer, not surprisingly, is No. NO.

Recent polling shows that 75 percent of voters—including 62 percent of Cantor's party—think that the Environmental Protection Agency, not Congress, should make decisions about clean air standards. Large majorities are also against delaying (67 percent) or blocking (76 percent) the clean air standards that Cantor's TRAIN wreck is colliding with.

But the House is, nonetheless, rolling forward with its agenda to ruin-not-run the country. Full steam ahead. In early October, it voted to increase mercury pollution, premature death and disease by outright exempting cement kilns—the nation's second worst mercury polluter, behind only the power plants that the TRAIN Act already ran over—from the Clean Air Act. It is well-established that mercury exposure causes brain and developmental damage to fetuses, babies and young children. The bill, H.R. 2681, also changes current law to encourage kilns to burn tires, scrap plastics, used chemicals and other industrial garbage.

Alex Allred, a longtime ally of Earthjustice, lives near three cement kilns. In a guest blog at unEarthed, she wrote:

This is not an issue about the economy or industry or free enterprise. This is my life. This is the life of my children and my neighbors. This is our future. Please don't sell it out to the greedy interests of a dirty industry that should and could have cleaned up more than a decade ago.

Earthjustice's Jim Pew, whose dogged litigation over the past decade brought about the strong clean air standards for cement kilns that the House voted to undo, said, "Does the House of Representatives think that not enough babies are being born with developmental damage due to mercury poisoning?"

Apparently not, because just last Thursday it voted to exempt industrial boilers and incinerators—the third largest source of mercury and other toxic air pollution—from the Clean Air Act. This bill, H.R. 2250, also encourages the burning of industrial garbage in uncontrolled, unmonitored facilities. For the neighbors of these facilities, the bill deprives them of finding out what wastes are being burned or what toxic pollutants are generated as a result.

Taken together, H.R. 2681 and H.R. 2250 will cause up to 9,000 premature deaths every year. If you're playing along at home, that's a total of up to 60,000 unnecessary, preventable deaths caused by air pollution every year thanks to the votes for Rep. Cantor's Toxic Agenda.

Outraged yet? Take a look at how your representative voted.

If these votes aren't being cast in the interest of the American public, whose interests are being served? Polluters, plain and simple. The operators of dirty industrial facilities don't want to pay for their pollution. They want us to do it—with higher medical bills, with reduced wages from missing work, with diminished quality of life. They claim it's about jobs, but peer-reviewed EPA studies and numerous independent analyses have shown over and over again that clean air protections are Good. For. The. Economy.

Sadly, there's more. On Friday, the House wanted to serve up one last favor to the polluters before heading out for a week-long recess. Literally just before dashing out of town, it voted to block the EPA from regulating toxic coal ash, despite the mounting evidence that arsenic, lead and other toxic metals from coal ash are contaminating groundwater at hundreds of sites across the country. Proponents of the bill again argue in economic terms, but a recent study from Tufts University found that federal regulations for coal ash could provide 28,000 new jobs every year.

These public health protections are priorities for Earthjustice. We have worked for years, decades in some cases, to secure protections against coal ash and strong clean air standards for the nation's dirtiest industries: coal-fired power plants, cement kilns, and industrial boilers and incinerators. Along the way, our supporters have sent emails, made phone calls, attended public hearings and contributed in many other ways. It's clear that the House of Representatives supports the Toxic Agenda to take away all of this hard work, and it's also clear that the American people do not.

Perhaps sensitive to this fact, the White House indicated it will veto 3-out-of-4 of these bills—while not issuing a veto threat, they declared themselves unequivocally opposed to the coal ash bill. That's good news, but Americans may have to count on the administration to follow through on their opposition and not cave to political pressure like they did on the badly needed ozone standards.

The fate of clean air standards and other public health protections in this country shouldn't be determined by political pressures, but it is. To ensure that they happen—an outcome the American people certainly wants—we the public have to maintain pressure to counter the deep pockets and sharp elbows of the polluter lobby. A real fight is emerging as these bills move to the Senate, and we'll be counting on your support to ensure that no part of Cantor's Toxic Agenda slips through. If their goal is to ruin the country, our goal should be to ruin their plans.
 

Mr. P. King you voted against clean air and water ! Are you out of your mind ! If this is what can be expected of you I will never vote for you again .

Kudos to Republican Rep Frank Wolf who broke party lines and voted against passage of this bill - way to go Frank! Our guy in Virginia, unlike Mr. Cantor, is indeed, in-touch with his surroundings.

I never said, "Run the country," either! I don't extend to any politician my compliance, and I hold each and every one of you responsible for your criminal negligence, if not actual malfeasance. I look forward to the day you are all brought to account.

SINCE I KNOW PRETTY WELL WHERE MY SENATORS STAND ON THE ISSUES, I WOULD LIKE TO RESTRICT MY MESSAGES TO SENATOR BROWN (MA) ONLY. HE IS THE ONLY ONE WHO NEEDS "ARM TWISTING".

I am almost to the point of being numb. Each day, each week, each month the greed, the selfish and narcissistic behavior and short sightedness continues unabated with these ultra right-wing idiots. How can they be so short-sighted? Money, power and greed appear to be the only personal characteristics they posses.. It's disheartening how they continue to bring the country down. Do their constituents really want their elected officials voting the way they have? I don't know... I don't get it.

From now on, I refuse to call our leaders, leaders, no... from now I am calling them politicians sleazy, greedy politicians. Say one thing and then do another - especially while running for office. Not all of them but most. How sad.

Dan Lungren is my Rep. Writing to him is useless. He is so out of touch it hurts.

It is truly sad that the republicans are so selfish, greedy and short sighted. They do not have the interest of the people of the United states as their priority.

History has shown that many industries will not act responsibly when it comes to the environment or workplace safety. It is the job of government to protect the citizens from these pirates.
Unfortunately the influence of these irresponsible companies has hijacked our government.
As Jim Cramer said "it is government of the corporation,by the corporation and for the corporation" Mitt Romney says that corporations are people too. The GOP is always on the side of the polluters, execept for George Herbert Walker Bush who likes to fish so he wants clean water.

I have watched once good politician, in my near 76 years, to what we now, some of the worst politicians money can buy. A perfect example being the cuurent majority of the House of Representatives. The compact they signed reminds me of lemmings that follow the leader over a cliff. If they are not intelligent enough to think for themselves they sure do not belong there to represent the people. To prove my point I will use the District 1 Michigan House Representative. He is an M.D. ,a surgeon, and he voted anti-environment on every bill he has voted on regardless of the premature deaths, heart attacks, asthma attacks,emergency room, hospitalization lost work and millions in health care costs they will cause. His reason for doing so is, in his own words, because the USEPA used bad science to come up with their figures. If he was able to think for himself he would know that the data provided to the USEPA was from he National Academy of Science. Excellent science but extrely bad politics and politicians. This Rep rates his record as a B+. That is like our states biggest polluter giving themselves an environmental award. We give him an F.

It's the environment "STUPID"!.......WAKE UP!!!.........Destroying her , we destroy ourselves!! GREED=DEATH

This just proves that voting every two or four years for progressive legislators is not the answer to get reforms that mean anything to the people. Money has bought these votes and politicians campaigns are financed through these corporate powers. Top down strategies do not work in donating money to politicians is likely to be met with dissapointment and finding the politicians going to the side of more money and influence. What is needed is more people out on the streets as the 99% challenging the system of the 1%. The 1% are the polluters, villans, and opposition of progressive reform.

There are times when I want to personally shake my congressman to see what falls out of his pocket. Why is he and the rest of the Republican party so adamant in their desire to destroy everything that is important.What is amazing is that Congressman Price used to be a surgeon - you would think he knew better. Now their aim is against abortion and women's rights and won't be happy until they repeal Roe vs Wade. It's just what we really need - more people

These very bad bills are clear proof of the overwhelming corporate influence in our government. Industry's goal is to dismantle EPA and roll back environmental and public health protections. We must do everything we can to fight against the corporate takeover of our government and to legislate reasonable and fair campaign finance reform.

I think the occupiers in OUR offices and buildings that do NOT represent the American lifetime tax payers need to get out! In fact why are we the people PAYING all of these agencies that are supposed to protect us?? NONE of them do? Where was OUR military when these corporate criminals and bankster robbers Hi-Jacked OUR offices and buildings?, and have manipulated /voted on OUR laws to better serve their corporate/bankster bosses! They have/are totally dismantling our civil liberties! I say we TAX STRIKE! and if need be ABOLISH IRS! They already betray the people on a daily bases, so why should we continue to pay them and PAY for their world domination enslavement agendas? Make them pay for it themselves and it will stop!

I am ashamed to be a Republican because of the vile acts of my political party. One day, the GOP will come to its senses and throw out the greedy jerks who represent my party.

We must occupy Washington until they change their ways.

What's lives saved when there's money to be made?
Funny how curtailing or canceling environmental safeguards are always couched in "job creation" these days. The public actually falls for that rhetoric. Meanwhile the only things accomplished are a satisfied Tea Party/Republican base and richer profits to corporations that regularly degrade air and water quality as part of their business.

Thomas O. Nass’ Paraphrase and Enhancement of W.C. Lowdermilk’s , U.S. Dept of Agriculture 1948, "Conquest of the Land Through 7,000 Years" This Holy Earth

Thou shall inherit this Holy Earth as a Faithful Steward, respecting, protecting and conserving its Environment, its Resources and its Productivity for future generations.
Thou shall safeguard its Fields from erosion; its Soils and sub-Surface from Chemical Saturation; its Waters, its Ground Waters and its Air from Pollution and over-heating. Its Oceans from over fishing; its Forests from desolation; its Mineral Resources from depletion; its Hills from overgrazing by thy herds and its Creatures from extinction, so that thy descendants may enjoy its abundance as once did thee.
As All Nations do share in the Ownership of this Holy Earth. Ergo, if any Nation or its leaders should fail in the responsibilities of their Stewardship, then all of thy Crop land shall become sterile ground with wasting gullies; thy waters unfit to drink; thy air too thick to breath; the meat of thy herds and thy flocks, as the spawn of thy waters and thy oceans, unfit to eat. If any of the above should come to pass, then thy descendants shall gradually diminish in their number and eventually depart from off the face of this Holy Earth.
Why? Because thy insatiable Greed and thy ignorance of thy ignorance shall have decreed it so.
And it will be thy insatiable Greed, if allowed to continue, that shall eventually take this Country down!

Thomas O. Nass, 5th Marine Division - WWII www.sciline.com

Oh yeah, I guess rich people do not brearh air!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just goes to show that in todays world money buys everything.
GOD bless us all because we are in trouble.
Thank you Exxon Shell Wall street, etc.

This earth belongs to all of us, not just corporations who want to rape the land and reap profits. ENOUGH!!!

If benefits are reaped far enough away, making money at the expense of the environment comes out looking good. Especially to those who use the product but don't know or understand where it comes from. But ask the country farmer or landowner who lives yards away or down the road from a gas pumping/fracking station how it impacts there life and the lives of the generations that will follow. Look at the small towns that are being invaded by out-of-state workers. The locals are not benefitting. Their way of life is being changed and the opportunities promised are false. Snake charmers disguised as lawyers and investors are scaring people and pitting neighbors against neighbors, looking for their piece of the pie, when these new and large amounts of money flow into town. It's a crime and saddens me tremendously to know that the land my father valued and protected for years can be destroyed with the stroke of a pen when big corporations built over many years a business that was planned to skirted environmental laws to gain profit. The local citizen didn't even have a chance and now it's too late. The corporations have packaged the deal so tight right from the start, the chance of influencing decisions will occur long after the damage is done. So much for the earth belonging to all of us. Fighting to prove that the earth belongs to us all is a hard, but it's worth every ounce of effort, and I cannot be influenced otherwise.

The issue of the purchased votes in the House of Representatives has been around in different forms for as long as I can remember but is better financed at present. When the Republican party is in the minority they seem to receive less bribes from "Friends".
The tipping point was passed when RR was president.
I don't think the concept of representation of the voters will ever come back. It is clear to me that big money controls 90% of the Republican party and 40% of the Democratic party office holders. Protests over Wall Street seem too little too late.

Too many damn young and old punks have been elected by morons to the public offices through out the nations. They are only ought to feed themselves and do not give a damn to their constituents, therefore, we the public are screwed more than ever before. This may be the reason why we see masses are gathering all over the world pleading their fate to the rich and greedy billionaires for food, clothing and shelter.

What's going on?
We might just a well have no Congress ... it's not interested in representing the^people!!!

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