The House Appropriations Committee voted late last night on a funding bill for the Department of Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, Forest Service and other federal agencies that contains dozens of riders attacking clean air, clean water, endangered species protections and a host of other environmental issues.
The following statement is from Martin Hayden, Vice President of Policy and Legislation at Earthjustice:
“The House Republicans’ calculated attacks on important environmental protections continue. Yesterday’s markup in the House Appropriations Committee was a free-for-all, no-holds-barred environmental nightmare that produced a final bill that deserves to sink under its own weight. It includes dozens of anti-environmental riders that, among other things, attack protections for drinking water sources, allow power plants and cement kilns to poison pregnant women and young children, destroy wetlands, allow sewage to flow into our rivers and lakes, and expose more Americans to dangerous pesticides.
“Rep. John Carter from Texas proposed to kill safeguards meant to protect American lives from cement plant pollution. His rider cuts EPA efforts to regulate mercury, particulates, and other dangerous pollutants from these facilities that result in up to 2,500 premature deaths from air pollution each year.
“Rep. Cynthia Lummis, from Wyoming, wins the prize for the amendment that will kill the most Americans. She proposed to delay EPA efforts to clean up our nation’s biggest polluters and prevent cross-state air pollution. This single rider, known as the TRAIN Act, delays EPA efforts that would prevent premature death for up to 51,000 people annually and save up to $420 billion in health costs and missed work days each year. It’s sad that greed and cronyism has so distorted the judgment of these elected officials.
“Representatives James Moran from Virginia and Norm Dicks of Washington are leading voices of protecting people and the environment on this committee. Mr. Moran’s amendments to cut all riders, strike uranium mining in the Grand Canyon and protect clean water and Mr. Dicks’ amendment on endangered species were at least trying to insert some adult supervision in this circus. But Republicans blinded by their zeal to destroy protections for Americans that save lives, voted all his amendments down.
“If it weren’t so tragic, the vigor and force with which these Congresspersons are so blatantly attacking important public health safeguards would almost be comical. Never before has such an attack been so obviously motivated by corporate greed and donations. The polluters who will receive free passes to pollute are the same polluters who wrote checks during the elections season, and their time is finally coming. Unfortunately it’s at the expense of the millions of Americans who will continue to breathe dirty air, drink poisoned water and be forced to pay for our own destruction.”
Jared Saylor, Earthjustice (202) 667-4500, x213
Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.