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House Energy & Commerce Committee Approves Shameful “Polluter Protection” Bills

Statement of Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter
WASHINGTON -

Today, the House Energy & Commerce Committee rapidly approved several bills promoting dirty energy and rolling back environmental protections. The committee marked up the controversial vehicles after rushing the bills through subcommittee — in some cases, forcing votes on previously unseen legislative language that had not been covered in prior hearings. In response, Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter issued the following statement:

“Simply put, today’s votes in the House Energy & Commerce Committee represent the fulfillment of a pie-in-the-sky deregulatory wishlist for the ever-polluting oil, gas and nuclear energy sectors. Local communities across the country are pushing for genuine renewable energy solutions to fight climate change. Unfortunately, Congressional Republicans continue to promote a fossil-fueled future that enriches the oil, gas and utility industries while literally cooking our planet.

“Today’s actions by the Energy Committee represent a shameful giveaway to polluters at the expense of the wellbeing of our nation and planet.

“The committee passed Rep. John Shimkus’ (R-Illinois) bill to re-launch the dangerous Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage facility. Yucca Mountain has been rightly stalled since 1987 because federal officials have repeatedly identified its unacceptable risks to Nevadans, as well as to more than 50 million people in 45 states in proximity to waste that would come to or go from the site. Rep. Shimkus’ legislation accelerates the approval process for Yucca Mountain, removes key Congressional legislative oversight of it, and weakens the environmental review of the proposed facility.

“The committee also passed two bills designed to accelerate the approval of oil and gas pipelines. Rep. Bill Flores’ (R-Texas) legislation would give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), already a rubber-stamp approver of fossil fuel infrastructure, even more authority over the interstate gas pipeline projects.

“Rep. Markwayne Mullin’s (R-Oklahoma) legislation would eliminate presidential review of cross-border pipelines, like when President Obama blocked the Keystone XL pipeline because it undermined U.S. efforts to fight climate change. These bills will let FERC steamroll impacted communities, local governments and landowners to more rapidly approve the pipelines that pollute our lands and propel us toward climate chaos.

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Food & Water Watch mobilizes regular people to build political power to move bold and uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water, and climate problems of our time. We work to protect people’s health, communities, and democracy from the growing destructive power of the most powerful economic interests.

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