Early Saturday morning, the U.S. House of Representatives approved an amendment to the House budget bill that had nothing to do with trimming the federal deficit, but everything to do with sweetening the bottom line of the likes of Duke Energy, AEP, Ameren and Southern Company.
The Latest On: Coal Ash
It’s a shame that it took the House days and many late night and early morning hours to come up with a budget plan like this. And during the wee hours of 4:35 a.m. the final roll call counted a vote of 235 to 189. And just like that our elected leaders eliminated safeguards for our air, water and wildlife.
As I write this, members of the House of Representatives continue to debate and move their way through votes on hundreds of amendments to the chamber's government spending bill. The voting and debate has been a marathon process, stretching from morning through late at night for the last three days, and looks to carry on until late tonight or tomorrow.
Forty years of environmental progress is under attack today by a vote in the House of Representative on a stop-gap funding measure to keep the federal government running.
Unfortunately, that measure—called a continuing resolution—is loaded with amendments and provisions that would slash the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget, and seeks to override the rule of law at every turn.
House Republicans are using the oft-repeated refrain of “fiscal restraint” as their excuse for gutting several environmental initiatives that will put the public in harm’s way. But there simply is no excuse for hacking away at health protections that will leave our air and water dirtier and our children and seniors at risk. It’s not hard to see their real agenda.
The highwaymen of the 112th Congress are trying to take away the authority of the EPA and rob the will of the people on a variety of critical public health and environmental issues by attaching riders to the House budget bill (the Continuing Resolution). The spending legislation introduced by the House Appropriations Committee this week would not only slash billions of dollars from programs protecting public health by ensuring clean water and air, but it would also undo or block key environmental initiatives.
Teabag by teabag, the anti-environment faction in the House of Representatives has filled its federal government spending bill with amendments that will cripple protections for our water, air, natural resources, wildlife and public health.
(This is the latest in a weekly series of 50 Tr-Ash Talk blogs discussing the dangers of coal ash. Earthjustice hopes that by December 2011, the third anniversary of the TVA coal ash spill, the EPA will release a coal ash rule establishing federally enforceable regulations ensuring the safe disposal of this toxic waste.
(Barb Gottlieb of Physicians for Social Responsibility contributed to this report.)
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