20 Apr 2011

Powerful House Chairman Feels the Heat from Constituent Backlash

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="233" caption="Flames by Velo Steve, on Flickr"]Flames[/caption]

Rep. Upton has received significant donations from the oil and gas industry, more so since he became chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. His efforts in Congress have definitely helped these special interests, putting their profits ahead of his constituents’ health.

His constituents have noticed. And there has been a tremendous backlash against his efforts. [1][2] [3]

Faced with this criticism, Rep. Upton has felt compelled to respond through OpEds like this one (although his arguments were quickly debunked by the NRDC here).

Now, it is being reported that he is not accepting donations from BP.

Perhaps it’s a coincidence that he’s doing this after being so strongly criticized for supporting special interests. But I don’t think so.

07 Apr 2011

Champs Stand Up And Fight For Clean Air As Tea Party Loses Steam

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="263" caption="Clean Air Day by Kingstonist.com, on Flickr"]Clean Air Day[/caption]

Things are looking up in the effort to preserve clean air protections and to keep the Clean Air Act intact. For months, polluters and their allies in Congress have been trying to strip away the protections that keep our air safe to breathe. But in the past few days, 4 anti-clean air amendments have failed miserably in the Senate, 34 senators have declared their support for the Clean Air Act, and now some members of the GOP are indicating they might give some ground on the dirty policy riders they’ve attached to the spending bill — policy riders that don’t save a single red cent.

Two forces are helping break up the logjam: the renewed leadership from clean air champions and the apparent waning influence of Tea Party supporters. But the fight is definitely not over. We need to keep the pressure on until the dirty air bullies back down.

Strong leadership certainly helps. Environmental, public health, labor, and clean tech groups have bombarded lawmakers with data demonstrating how the Clean Air Act promotes health and prosperity. We also shared polling numbers showing that the vast majority of American voters—Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike—support the law and want to let the Environmental Protection Agency continue to do its job.

Lawmakers heard us and began standing up for the protections that Americans want. Last Friday, Senators Sanders (D-VT), Whitehouse (D-RI), Carper (D-DE), and Kerry (D-MA), these lawmakers introduced a resolution calling for a continued commitment to the Clean Air Act.

Senator Durbin (D-IL) drove home the message on the Sunday talk shows. He said some of the policy riders in the spending bill “were totally unacceptable,” and specifically decried the “idea that we’re going to close down the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to keep our air clean and our water pure.”

Senator Durbin represents a heartland state with a large Tea Party constituency. But rather than pandering to Tea Party faithfuls who will never vote for him anyway, Durbin is standing up for the values that matter to the working families he represents.

29 Mar 2011

Clean Air Act Attacks Continue and Intensify

A legislative storm is brewing in Washington right now. Three Senators have proposed amendments to the Senate’s SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011 bill—commonly referred to as the “Small Business Bill”—that could undermine the Clean Air Act. If you would like to curb global warming, prevent more asthma attacks, and preserve America’s best tool

23 Mar 2011

Representative Upton wrong about his bill

Yesterday, at a townhall meeting in Portage, Michigan, Representative Fred Upton – Chairman of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee – misrepresented a bill he sponsored, saying it “doesn’t undermine the Clean Air Act.” Despite what Rep. Upton says, his bill very much undermines the Clean Air Act: Rep. Upton’s bill

23 Mar 2011

Out of Both Sides of His Mouth

Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich is in mourning. He is very saddened by the sudden passing of Knut the polar bear in Germany. He tweeted: “Sad news! Just learned Knut the polar bear died suddenly at 4,” Gingrich tweeted over the weekend. “Callista and I visited him in Berlin when he

25 Feb 2011

The GOP’s Latest Play: Sneaking Bad Policies into Budget Debates

A great post by my colleague Matt Howes: The news from Wisconsin is pretty grim: Wisconsin Republican leaders are using a budget debate as an excuse to rollback important worker rights and make in-roads against environmental efforts. This is very similar to what’s been happening in Washington with the national

17 Feb 2011

The Tea Party’s Takeover of the Republican Budget

A great post by my colleague Rob Perks: Today the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to pass the Republicans’ reckless plan to cut $100 billion in government spending. This includes a 30% budget reduction for the Environmental Protection Agency, which would inflict grave harm to our economy and to

16 Feb 2011

Whitfield Admits His Allegiance to the Industry

This just in: Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) admits that THE INDUSTRY has put him up to rolling back parts of the Clean Air Act. In this stunning quote from E&E Daily, he had this to say about the rollbacks of public health safeguards: “We recognize that there might be unintended

09 Feb 2011

Ignorance Rages at CPAC

The annual Conservative Political Action Conference is taking place this week. Billed as the largest gathering of conservatives in the nation, it is known for giving participants a chance to kick the tires of potential presidential candidates. This year is no exception. The list of confirmed speakers reads like a

12 Jan 2011

You Can Do Better, Senator Brown

I learned last week that Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is floating the idea of stopping EPA’s work to reduce carbon dioxide pollution for at least one year. To say that I am disappointed is an understatement. I have known and admired Senator Sherrod Brown for years, and I respect his