US House Votes Against Clean Water, Gives Big Oil Big Gift

Congressional Republicans, voting party line, will end an important provision protecting streams and rivers from coal waste, and a requirement that oil companies report payments to Foreign Governments. The former is blatant hippie punching anti environmental evil. The latter is a fully expected out come if you elect a Russian puppet president, and appoint a Secretary of state whose main job will be to exploit Russian oil fields. So, if that happened, and this happened, then everything is falling nicely into place for the oligarchs, both American and otherwise.

The House has already voted as of this writing, the Senate will be voting shortly, so there is still time to call your Senators

The Sierra Club has set up that will patch you through to your Senators: 888-454-0483.

This is from Feb 1 press release from the Center for Biological Diversity:

House of Representatives Votes to Block Rules Protecting Rivers From Coal Waste

Also Votes to End Requirement That Oil Companies Report Payments to Foreign Governments

WASHINGTON— In a party line vote, the U.S. House of Representatives today voted to rescind Obama administration rules to protect streams from coal waste and requiring mining and oil companies to report payments made to foreign governments. The vote was done through the Congressional Review Act, a rarely used statute allowing Congress to overturn federal rules enacted with the past 60 legislative days. It has not been successfully used since 2001.

“House Republicans just sold out America's clean drinking water and efforts to combat international fraud in order appease Exxon and coal companies,” said Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Polluting streams with coal waste is disgusting, dangerous and life-threatening to rural people. There will be hell to pay if Senate Republicans go along with repealing these common-sense rules that save lives and prevent corruption.”

The Stream Protection Rule was instituted by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement to provide greater protections to streams from toxic coal mining waste. It would reduce pollution in 6,100 miles of streams while reducing coal mining output by less than 1 percent.

The requirement that U.S. mining, oil and natural gas companies report payments made to foreign nations was established by the Securities and Exchange Commission under the authority of the Dodd-Frank Act in order to reduce international fraud. Set to go into effect in 2018, the rule was aggressively, but until now, unsuccessfully attacked by Exxon under the leadership of Rex Tillerson.

And here is another press release from a coalition of organizations who have been fighting over this issue for some time:

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the House of Representatives will use an obscure tool, the Congressional Review Act (CRA), to dismantle the Stream Protection Rule (SPR), which protects clean water for communities living near mining sites. The Senate is expected to vote on the House bill tomorrow.

SPR gives communities in coal country much needed information about toxic water pollution caused by nearby mining operations. It was finalized by the Obama administration in late 2016. The modest and long overdue rule also provides these communities basic protections from the devastating impacts of mountaintop-removal coal mining on water and public health.

This safeguard helps to ensure that coal companies don't profit off of the destruction of drinking water supplies. Unfortunately, leaders in Congress have targeted the SPR in a blatant attempt to put industry profits before public health. Repealing this commonsense protection through the CRA is a heavy handed tactic that will put many communities at risk now -- and could constrain future administrations from acting to protect public health and drinking water in these communities.

A broad coalition of public health, environmental, and conservation groups opposing the CRA, released the following statements:

“Nobody voted against clean air and water in the last election. Regulatory safeguards that keep our air and water safe from toxic pollution are crafted using a democratic process and based on the best available science", said Trip Van Noppen, President of Earthjustice. "Any attempts to dismantle them using the Congressional Review Act should be opposed. These attacks have the power to fundamentally undermine the very goals of our environmental laws by trying to cripple future attempts to enforce protections for our air, water, and lands.”

"This is an unconscionable attack on basic clean water safeguards for communities already devastated by toxic pollution from coal mining," said Bob Wendelgass, President and CEO of Clean Water Action. "Everyone has the right to know what is in their water and every community deserves access to clean water. Congress should reject any action that puts industry profits before protections for drinking water and public health."

“This attempt to scrap the Stream Protection Rule is a clear case of putting polluters’ profits ahead of the basic well-being of vulnerable communities, and we must do everything we can to stop it,” said Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club. “No matter who you are or where you live, you have a right to clean water -- but this shameless attack puts families and communities at risk.”

"The Stream Protection Rule protects both clean drinking water for people and habitat for endangered species and other wildlife,” said Jamie Rappaport Clark, President and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife. “We can't have a bountiful natural heritage without securing clean water. Legislators who attack this rule through the Congressional Review Act are voting in the interest of big polluters, not local communities or future generations."

“The potential devastation if the Stream Protection Rule is struck down is unimaginable,” said Aimee Erickson, Executive Director of Citizens Coal Council. “In the 25 states with active coal mining, nearly 100% of the drinking water comes from surface and groundwater that feeds into both public and private water supplies. These water supplies serve 11.4 million people in some of the poorest areas of the nation, where poverty levels in some areas reach nearly 43 percent."

“Republican leadership has wasted no time in rewarding Big Polluters by attempting to roll back the historic environmental progress made under President Obama. Undoing this critical Stream Protection Rule that helps prevent coal mining companies from dumping toxic waste into drinking water would be outrageous on its own, but this extreme attack goes even further by blocking the Department of Interior from ever issuing rules that allow communities living near mining operations to know what’s being put in their water or to hold these polluters accountable for the increased rates of cancer, birth defects, and other health problems that have been linked to their waste”, said Gene Karpinski,

President of the League of Conservation Voters. “With communities across the country increasingly alarmed by contaminants like lead, flame-retardant chemicals, and many other pollutants showing up in their drinking water, shredding safeguards for clean water is the exact opposite of what Congress should do. We call on Congress to do what’s right by standing up to Big Polluters and rejecting this radical attack on clean water.”

"The politicians in Washington, D.C. are out of touch with Alaskans. Across our great state, Alaskans want healthy wild salmon streams," said Bob Shavelson, Advocacy Director of Cook Inletkeeper. “But the political elites don't get it—they take money from the coal corporations and ignore the will of the people.”

"Think about it: spiking a rule that tells coal companies they can't poison our water sources, harm our landscapes or kill fish and wildlife with their waste,” said Scott Slesinger, Legislative Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “This is a polluter-motivated attack on the American people."

"Appalachia has already lost 2,000 miles of streams to mountaintop removal mining. It’s crucial we protect what is left”, said John Suttles, Director of Litigation and Regional Programs for SELC. “Congress is placing coal-mining profits above the health of the people in Appalachia and the basic right to clean water."

“National parks and people stand to lose if Congress succeeds in dismantling the Stream Protection Rule,” said Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of National Parks Conservation Association. “The rule safeguards waterways from toxic pollution produced by mining operations. Millions of Americans visit national parks in the Southeast each year, for activities such as bass fishing at Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area or white water rafting at New River Gorge National River each year. Will they continue to visit and spend millions of dollars in surrounding communities, if polluted waterways greet them upon arrival?”

"Mountaintop removal has devastated Appalachia's land and water, and it continues to threaten the health and wellbeing of residents throughout the region," said Tom Cormons, Executive Director of Appalachian Voices. "Appalachian communities are actively working toward a stronger economic future, not dominated by a failing coal industry. We are counting on Congress to do what is right for the people of Central Appalachia by preserving the Stream Protection Rule."


More like this

The Sierra Club number might only get you to one Senator.

The Senate office number might get you to a packed switchboard.

Go, then, to the senator's web site (just enter your Senator's name, and "contact" in google) and send your note electronically.

Donald Trump: Making Corruption Great Again!

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 02 Feb 2017 #permalink

So this is something that has not been a rule until late 2016, but now to get rid of it within a few months of enactment means 'dirty water'? Did you oppose Barack Obama in 2012 for supporting dirty water and the dumping of toxic waste in rivers? Congress never even voted for this rule that they are now seeking to repeal.

Citation, please... Show us the documentation that demonstrates that Obama was supporting dirty waters and the dumping of toxic waste. We'll even open it up for "at any time in his presidency".

Bonus: you can include his time spent in the Senate, too.

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 02 Feb 2017 #permalink

Lots and lots of the fictitious tu quoque around the threads at the moment.

Can I just point out that even if the made-up shit were true, it would *still* be a logical fallacy.

Trump's misdeeds are not excused. You need better bullshit, MikeN.

For Obama's entire time in the Senate and all of his first term and 98% of his second term as President, he did not have this rule that Congress is seeking to overturn. By the description of Congressional action provided by Greg Laden and the Sierra Club above, this means that Obama was supporting dirty water and toxic coal mining waste in rivers.

If this rule is so necessary, why not have Congress pass it? Should such major rules be passed by bureaucrats, even if Congress has delegated some authority?

... as an *aide (not aid).

Every day of the Trump admin brings a new affront to basic human rights and decency that we have been fighting decades for. And useful idiots like MikeN lap it all up. We are living the nightmare that is The Apprentice, only for real now.

Only two weeks in, and you can stick a fork in the US of A, we're done.

By metzomagic (not verified) on 02 Feb 2017 #permalink

Don't worry. The nightmare that is The Apprentice ended up with Arnold in charge, so we know how the US will handle things.

Arnold was correct when he tweeted that everyone would be much better off if they changed jobs; Trump is better suited to track reality TV show ratings, and with Arnold running the country, everyone would sleep comfortably.

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 02 Feb 2017 #permalink


For Obama’s entire time in the Senate and all of his first term and 98% of his second term as President, he did not have this rule that Congress is seeking to overturn.

Oh, gee. Don't you think that maybe, as President, he had a lot of things to handle, including getting the U.S. out of an illegal war in Iraq, before he could, you know, introduce this law? Or that maybe the Republicans tried constantly to undermine him?
Nah, couldn't be that.
@Brainstorms, almost anyone would be better than Trumplethinskin.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 02 Feb 2017 #permalink

Notice that MikeN has blanked the fact that his rhetoric is a formal logical fallacy of tu quoque.

His apologetics for Trump are therefore invalidated. As I said, he needs better bullshit. Perhaps this observation went over his head, hence the link in the first paragraph.

To spell it out, MikeN: nobody needs to engage with your bullshit because it is a logical fallacy. If you wish to mount a meaningful defence of Trump's flailing, you need to do so in a meaningful fashion.

Good luck with that.

But BBD, "mike" has to write here until everyone's forgotten about "dick" (totally different poster, honest) and his admission of error. That needs to be buried so it can resurface again as another zombie argument!

Ignoring him only serves to make it take longer before "dick" can rise from the grave again!

Returning things to the way things were two months ago is an argument of hypocrisy?

Congress never passed this rule about waste in rivers. For someone who thinks following THE RULES are the only thing preventing a Holocaust in America, shouldn't this matter at all?

Coal, which was is on life support, and ought to have its plug yanked, but it is instead being given this little symbolic boost. Not sure what this is going to accomplish except, as you call it "hippie-punching".

In the years I worked in environmental engineering, I always found it amazing how the laws gerrymandered their way around coal ash as if it were some sort of sacred entity.
I guess the principles of toxicology don't apply to coal ash.

Coal is truly magic stuff that Republicans use,along with a great deal of human sacrifice, to create wealth. For instance, you have your sacrificial coal miners, your sacrificial river valley victims from failed coal waste dams, your sacrificial citizens who expire from coal waste induced lung disease, and so forth. Yes, coal is magic stuff for Republicans.

Yes, and it's chock-a-block full of wonderous things, such as carcinogens, mutagens, and --best of all-- some of the most dangerous types and isotopes of radioactive elements...

Just what a conservative needs to help spread disease, destruction, and disaster among those undesirable creatures that inhabit earth.

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 03 Feb 2017 #permalink

Pound for pound, coal certainly lifts its weight in terms of chemical and rad pollutants. You got your coal dust wrecking miners' lungs, you got your mine tailings run off, you got your mountain top torture run off, ruining all sorts of pretty rivers and streams around the world, you got your ash and clinker from combustion, you got your fly ash going up the stack, you got your sulfur dioxide , you got your calcium sulfate from scrubbers, all loaded with the neat things you listed above, you got your oxides of nitrogen, that then go on to form ozone and smog, you got your mercury, you got your lead, you got all your scrubbing sludge just dieing to get into the ground water... man, coal is just your all around good time Republican pollution source. Let's make pollution profitable again! .

Republicans like their god damned god given right to hurt others. And coal lets them do it in so many ways. ... so many ways....

Why is this a surprise? The GOP Taliban of America will always try to accommodate big corporations and the wealthy and as soon as something goes awry they will do what republicans do, blame someone else, much like Rump, he will never take the blame for anything, it will always be the other guys fault.

By Delbert spersky (not verified) on 01 Mar 2017 #permalink