Saturday, February 19, 2011

House Vote Approves Handouts to Polluters, Guts Air and Water Protections

Includes rider that would kill new EPA water quality rules for Florida

The Rooney rider which would stop EPA from implementing new numeric water quality standards was adopted as part of the Continuing Resolution by the U.S. House of Representatives last night in a largely party-line vote, 237-189.  Only 17 Republicans voted against the rider, while 16 Democrats voted for it.  We don't have the breakdown of how the Florida congressional delegation voted , but can report that Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz made an outstanding, heroic speech on the House floor against the Rooney rider.  She is a true champion of clean water in Florida.

The Rooney rider was just one of scores of anti-environmental amendments adopted by the House yesterday.

The battle now moves to the Senate. Please contact Senator Bill Nelson at (202) 224-5274 and ask him to oppose any similar rider when the continuing resolution comes up in the Senate.

Here's a press release from the national Sierra Club on passage of the Continuing Resolution in the House.

Press Room:  For Immediate Release

February 19, 2011

  House Vote Kicks Americans While They’re Down

235-189 Vote Approves Handouts to Polluters, Guts Air and Water Protections

Washington, D.C. – Today the House of Representatives passed a funding bill, or Continuing Resolution, that rolls back bedrock government programs that protect Americans’ health and environment while doling out giveaways to corporate polluters.  The bill, H.R. 1, which passed by a vote of 235-189, will go to the Senate for approval.

In response, Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club released the following statement:

“Today’s House passage of the Continuing Resolution (H.R. 1) kicks American families and workers while they’re down – this bill puts the health of millions of Americans at risk while doing nothing to create jobs or grow the economy.  Adding insult to injury, the House voted to continue government handouts to wealthy corporate polluters, a move that would cost American taxpayers billions of dollars. 

The bill also made drastic cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget, severely limiting the agency’s ability to protect the health and safety of Americans.  For example, H.R. 1 blocks EPA from protecting communities from mercury, lead, arsenic and other toxic air pollution from cement plants, leaving thousands of children exposed and at risk of slowed brain development and asthma. The EPA’s blocked safeguard would have reduced mercury pollution by more than 90 percent, and would have saved 2,500 people each year.

We urge the Senate to reject the House’s short-sighted Continuing Resolution, which jeopardizes our health, our clean air and water, and our nation’s economic growth.”