September 20th, 2012 by Don Lieber
Tomorrow, the US House of Representatives will vote on H.R. 3409, the “Coal Miner Employment and Domestic Energy Infrastructure Protection Act.”
The bill has been called the “single worst environmental law” proposed by the most virulently anti-environmental US legislators in history.
The bill is aggressively anti-science and anti-public health. Its priority is made clear: the protection of the fossil fuel industry against the increasing public call for stricter environmental limits, protection from toxic air and water pollution, protection against climate change, and forward-thinking transitions to clean (non-fossil fuel) energy.
The blatant anti-science language of the bill is startling. The proposed law states:
- Climate change is not happening.
- Greenhouse gases are not air pollutants.
- Motor vehicle emissions do not contribute to greenhouse gas p0llution.
… and many other variances to the “Earth is Flat” theme .
The bill specifically proposes to:
- Repeal the EPA finding that “greenhouse gasses endanger public health and welfare.”
- Nullify existing EPA standards on mercury.
- Nullify existing controls on carbon pollution.
- Nullify carbon pollution standards recently put in place for autos.
- Ban the EPA from ever setting carbon pollution standards for refineries and power plants.
- Eliminate the greenhouse gas reporting program (which simply required plants to report their emissions).
- Overturn the existing “Clean Water Act.”
And more. (See below for reference to a complete review of the bill).
The ultimate value of the bill is made clear in its provision to “compel the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to “consider industry cost when determining what level of air pollution is safe.”
Who on Earth would sponsor such a bill — knowing what we have learned about the relationship between greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, coal, and public health?
The sponsor of this bill is Bill Johnson, US Congressman from Ohio — whose single biggest campaign financer happens to be Murray Energy, the largest privately owned coal company in the U.S. — headquartered in Mr. Johnson’s home state of Ohio.
Corporate oil, gas and mining are, together, the largest industry contributors to Mr. Johnson’s campaigns, providing a hefty $200,000 to him in the two years since his election to Congress in 2010. (See sources, below).
Image Credit: US Capitol Building via Shutterstock
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