House Bill Allows Big Oil to Plunder Public Health and Environment

Under the guise of “lowering fuel costs” legislation causes more air pollution and destruction of our public lands


Jess Ennis, Earthjustice, (202) 745-5202


Stephanie Maddin, Earthjustice, (202) 745-5210

The U.S. House of Representatives in a 248–163 vote, passed a bill today, H.R. 4480, an overreach that would weaken public health safeguards in the name of more oil production.

Among the air rules targeted for delay are standards to limit smog and soot from vehicles, carbon and toxic air pollution from refineries and ozone pollution. Some of the more egregious provisions of the bill would require the Department of the Interior to lease our public lands when oil is sold from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, would prioritize oil and gas development over other multiple uses of federal lands, and would require anyone wishing to protest a lease sale to pay a $5,000 fee. The following statement is from Jessica Ennis, Legislative Representative for Earthjustice:

“We recognize that the economy and fuel prices are a significant concern to all Americans but we know spewing toxic pollution into the air causes premature deaths and disease, not cheaper gas prices.

“The U.S. already has more drilling rigs operating than the rest of the world combined, yet this bill favors more oil production over our public health protections. Congress should seek to protect public health and our public lands instead of sacrificing them to line the pockets of Big Oil.”

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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.