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Policy and Legislation

The 112th Session of the House of Representatives is at it again, doing what they do best: writing legislation to strike and block the clean air and clean water laws that keep us alive and healthy.

It was a dark day in the House of Representatives, today, as the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure passed a bill that would flush away decades of water safeguards and protections, along with our powerful federal system for ensuring that any waters in this country are safe to drink, fish, and swim in.

This week more than 600 concerned citizens will participate in the largest mass mobilization against mountaintop removal mining that this country has ever seen, Appalachia Rising: The March on Blair Mountain.

The buzz is heightening. The Sundance official selection documentary The Last Mountain is arriving at theaters across America beginning this weekend in Washington, DC, and New York City. Throughout June, it will open in 18 other cities, bringing this film -- on the frightening effects of destructive mountaintop removal mining-- to the biggest metropolitan markets in the nation.

In the quiet moments after her two-year-old daughter has gone to bed, actress Jessica Alba scours the Internet in search of how to protect her children from toxic chemicals in consumer products.

Like so many other parents, she’s distressed by what she finds: BPA in baby bottles, lead and cadmium in toys, formaldehyde in furniture.

“Our children are being used as the testing animals,” she realized.

In a hearing on Capitol Hill today, Republican members of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee struggled to make the case against an investigation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency into the controversial gas drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) - a process in which oil and gas companies blast millions of gallons of chemically treated water into the earth to extract the gas from underground deposits.

On Thursday morning, the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, will begin a two-part hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) policies on mountaintop removal mining. The committee, chaired by Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH) is calling the hearings “EPA Mining Policies: Assault on Appalachian Jobs – Part I and Part II.

Several House members and right-wing bloggers believed they struck gold after House members indulged in a bit of chicanery at an April 15th Environment and Energy subcommittee hearing on a bill to remove EPA’s authority to establish strong coal ash regulations. The ruse started when Rep. Cory Gardner (R, CO) excerpted a single sentence from a 242-page Regulatory Impact Analysis prepared by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its proposed rule to regulate disposal of coal ash.  

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