After months of continued attacks on public health and nefarious legislative gifts to big polluters in the Republican-led House of Representatives, the Senate today proved that responsibility toward the health and well-being of the American people still exists in the Capitol.
This afternoon, the Senate rejected a transportation jobs bill offered by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and other Republican members that was slyly carrying several unrelated and dangerous provisions to thwart future pollution protections and to block public-health safeguards from the life-threatening and toxic air and mercury pollution of large industrial facilities. Mercury exposure can cause serious brain damage to fetuses, babies and young children. Pregnant women are especially vulnerable to mercury poisoning.
The bill, which carried several of the lowlights of Rep. Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) toxic pro-polluter agenda, included the REINS Act, which aims to reverse 100 years of checks and balances and set up a system for the politicians in Congress to easily squash every major federal protection—from worker safety controls to public health safeguards to Wall Street reforms. It also included handouts to large industrial polluters that would block controls on toxic air pollution from industrial boilers and cement factories.
The following is a statement from Earthjustice Associate Legislative Counsel Stephanie Maddin:
“Americans should be relieved today that there is enough good sense in the Senate to realize that political pandering to the worst polluters and allowing them to poison the air we all breathe is in no way, shape, or form a jobs plan.
“Today the Senate put its foot down and made a statement that the rest of the leaders in our nation need to hear: You do not create jobs or build an economy by poisoning, sickening, or killing your own people. You do not create a better America by letting the bad actors and the corporate polluters write the rules of the game, which invariably relieve them of any accountability for their harms and hurt our families and communities.
“You create jobs and build your economy by protecting and safeguarding your people.
“It’s past time that these paybacks to the big polluters who helped fund political campaigns be stopped. We’re glad the Senate took steps today to stop this kind of madness, and we hope we see more of this from all levels and branches of our government.”
Liz Judge, Earthjustice, (202) 797-5237
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.