Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Yes to Dirty Air, No to Citizens

On 10/13/2011, Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minnesota) voted Yea on H.R. 2250, the “EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011”, which passed. The bill is not expected to pass in the Senate, and the White House has said it would veto such a bill.

According to EPA’s analysis, this bill would allow up to:  

20,000 additional premature deaths;
12,000 additional heart attacks; and
123,000 additional asthma attacks that could have been avoided.[1]

"[T]he measure also exempts smaller burning facilities from any regulation at all."[2]

"Environmental groups and Democrats were livid over the 272 to 142 vote, which they said will allow smaller incinerators -- often in urban settings -- to burn tires, solvents, plastics, oil sludge and other toxic-laden substances for profit without any oversight or reporting requirements."[2]

Two quotes from Betty McCollum (D-MN) in the congressional record is illustrative:
With this bill, Republicans are now seeking to delay and indefinitely block the ability of the EPA to regulate mercury emissions from industrial boilers and incinerators. These rules were called for 21 years ago under the 1990 Clean Air Act and were to have been completed by 2000.
The EPA estimates the cost of compliance for the boiler rule to be around $3 billion annually while providing between $17 billion to $41 billion in benefits to the economy starting in 2014. Bruce Bartlett, former economic advisor to President Reagan, has noted that regulations were responsible for a miniscule 0.2 percent of layoffs in 2010. Despite the evidence, Republicans continue to claim the economic necessity of discarding the health of our children and communities in order to protect a few bad polluters.[3]
Congress sets the rules in the U.S. under which businesses operate. Congress creates the "playing field", and it is their responsibility to balance the needs of consumers, investors, employers and employees, and American citizens.

Rep. Collin Peterson's record of voting with Republicans against the interests of citizens just keeps getting longer. Just how much money to his re-election campaign did this vote gain for him? And when is he going to reveal to voters that he is really a Corporate Republican, not a Democrat?

[2] The Huffington Post, "House Passes Incinerator Bill That The EPA Warns Will Kill Thousands".

[3] Congressional Record, 112th Congress (2011-2012), Extensions of Remarks - October 14, 2011, Page: E1867, SPEECH OF HON. BETTY McCOLLUM OF MINNESOTA IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.