Senate Stops Passage of Energy Bill

US Senate defeats bill that would have been a huge boondoggle for Hooters, looters and polluters


Cat Lazaroff, Earthjustice, 202-667-4500 x 213

The US Senate voted today 40 to 57 to defeat the worst anti-environmental bill in 20 years. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) changed his vote at the last minute for procedural reasons to oppose the bill, in order to ensure that the bill can be brought up before the Senate again next week. That means the Senate Republican leadership fell two votes short of the 60 necessary to end debate on the controversial bill.

The 2003 energy bill proposed giving away $37.5 billion in subsidies and tax breaks to coal, nuclear, and oil energy producers, and exempting them from environmental laws that protect air, water, and public lands.

According to Earthjustice, oil and gas companies gave $64 million in campaign contributions to President Bush and other federal candidates since 2000, and in return Congress and the President tried to award the oil and gas industry with $16.7 billion in subsidies and tax breaks-a 25,994 percent return on their investment in campaign contributions.

“This energy bill would have been nothing but a huge boondoggle for Hooters, looters, and polluters,” said Buck Parker, Executive Director of Earthjustice. “Hooters would get a new restaurant in Louisiana, the oil and gas industry would have been allowed to loot our public lands and polluters would have received taxpayer subsidies and exemptions from our nation’s environmental laws.”

According the Congressional Budget Office, the total price tag for the bill was $50 billion over the next ten years.

The bill sought to weaken clean air protections for some of the most polluted cities in the country, exempt certain oil and gas development from the Clean Water Act, give immunity to producers of the toxic gasoline additive MTBE for groundwater contamination across the country, and make oil and gas development the dominant use of America’s public lands.

“Congress always intended that public lands should be managed for all users-not just the energy industry,” said Randy Moorman of Earthjustice. “We applaud the Senate for standing up for that principle by rejecting the bill and protecting our right to clean air, clean water and public land usage.”

“This bill threatened 30 years of work to clean up the nation’s waters, stuffed with Clean Water Act exemptions for the oil and gas industry,” said Joan Mulhern of Earthjustice. “By blocking the bill, the Senate declared that industry isn’t above the law, no matter what their campaign contributions are.”

If you would like more information on the energy bill that threaten the health of our lakes, streams, rivers, air quality, and communities, please contact:

Joan Mulhern, Earthjustice, 202-667-4500 x 223 (Clean Water Act)

David Baron, Earthjustice, 202-667-4500 x 220 (Clean Air Act)

Randy Moorman, Earthjustice, 202-667-4500 x 201 (Energy)

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