The Koch Energy and Commerce Committee

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

The Republican-controlled House Energy and Commerce Committee is paying off a debt. The debt is financial and campaign support from some of the nation’s worst polluters. The payoff is the “Energy Tax Prevention Act“, which, with an audacity that only Republicans seem to pull off, simply and blatantly redefines what constitutes an “air pollutant.”

You’ll be relived to learn that carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, hydrofluorocarbons, and perfluorocarbons are no longer pollutants. “The definition of the term ‘air pollutant’ in section 302(g) does not include [previously listed gasses]”. Poof! The EPA can no longer regulate these substances under Title III of the Clean Air Act.

Not to be outdone, potential Republican presidential nominee Newt Gingrich has called for the abolition of the EPA. Gingrich’s group, American Solutions for Winning the Future, is funded by top oil and coal interests.

The Koch Energy and Commerce Committee called a rogues’ gallery of polluters to testify:

  • Lion Oil, which ranks 27 on the list of top 100 facilities releasing chemicals such as nitrous oxides, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and benzene into the environment.
  • U.S. Steel Corporation, which ranks 19th on the 2010 Political Economy Research Institute Toxic 100 Air Polluters list.
  • FMC Corp., which had to pay the largest civil penalty ever obtained under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act for repeatedly violating the hazardous waste law at its phosphorus production facility in Pocatello, Idaho.
  • Nucor Corp., which is 24 on the 2010 Political Economy Research Institute Toxic 100 Air Polluters list.
  • Santee Cooper, the largest single mercury polluter in South Carolina.

The Koch brothers and their employees are the biggest oil and gas donors to lawmakers sitting on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. They contributed $279,500 to 22 of the committee’s 31 Republicans and $32,000 to five Democrats. Americans for Prosperity, a Koch front-group, spent over $200,000 on ads that benefitted five of the six GOP freshmen members on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Jonathan H. Adler, law professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, predicts that this bill “may be the sum-total of House Republicans’ climate policy.” That’s a pretty safe prediction.

During the hearing on the bill Scopes climate trial, top representatives from the scientific community “clearly explained how years of research involving thousands of scientists in dozens of fields of expertise have come to the ineluctable conclusion that fossil-fuel pollution is threatening humanity.” I hope someone asked these scientists how much money they contributed to the campaigns of members of the committee.

Rep. Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, stood up for reason:

H/T: Center for American Progress, Brad JohnsonPharyngula.

40 thoughts on “The Koch Energy and Commerce Committee”

  1. Woosty:

    its all this oil drilling they are taking the supports away from under the earth.

  2. The Japanese archipelago is located in an area where several continental and oceanic plates meet. This is the cause of frequent earthquakes and the presence of many volcanoes and hot springs across Japan. If earthquakes occur below or close to the ocean, they may trigger tidal waves (tsunami).

    That is the fact.

  3. Thanks to the GPS satellite systems in outerspace ability to record data, the following information was available to scientist around the world:

    “Kenneth Hudnut, a USGS geophysicist, said experts read data including from global positioning systems to determine the extend of the shift.
    “We know that one GPS station moved (eight feet), and we have seen a map from GSI (Geospatial Information Authority) in Japan showing the pattern of shift over a large area is consistent with about that much shift of the land mass.”

    Further reports:

    Analysts have determined that the earthquake’s force moved parts of eastern Japan as much as 12 feet closer to North America, and Japan has shifted downward about two feet.

    The temblor also should have caused Earth to rotate somewhat faster, shortening the length of the day by about 1.8 microseconds.

  4. Geologist II how can you speculate about the cause of the quake in Japan at this time? What a creepy thing to say with no facts and proof to support it…people are hurting right now, why do you want to scare the &$##^% out of them to boot?

  5. The earthquake in Japan was caused by the method they are using to extract oil in the Dakatos. Fraking causes fissures/fractures in the earths crust.

    We need to stop drilling for oil in the Dakotas. I am really worried about this.

    I imagine the Kochs are drilling for oil in the Bakken field.

    We need to shut the Kochs down before they implode the earth with fraking. There will be a huge environmental catastrophe if the Kochs arent stopped.

  6. Somebody should write a book … “Inside the Mind of a Republican Voter, Rationalizing the Garage-sale of a Country”

  7. “They did leave water out….Why? Or has that already been deregulated….”

    do a Google or youtube search for “flammable tap water”

    Fracking, a method used in extracting natural gas, is becoming a national problem

  8. Nal,
    Great story and I loved the video of a sane Congressmen actually backing scientific facts. What a shock! Kudos to Elaine’s fellow citizen of Massachusetts.

  9. Nal,

    Why are you picking on those poor Koch brothers?

    Regarding Rep. Markey of my state: You know how we northeastern liberal elitists from Massachusetts believe in the laws of nature and are always siding with scientists.

  10. Nice, This is really good for corporate profits….They did leave water out….Why? Or has that already been deregulated….

  11. Somehow the masters of the universe believe that they are immune from the laws of nature. Oh, sure, they will not suffer as soon as us peons will and they will certainly be able to cushion themselves from the worst of it – for a while. But the level of destruction they are setting us up for will take them down and destroy their world too. And no amount of money or political influence will buy, or lie, their way out of it.

    In “The Hunt For Red October” there is a scene were the egotistical Soviet sub commander, intensely focused on glory of killing his foe, disables the safety controls of his torpedo. So when it missed its target and is headed toward his own ship his number 2 turns to him and says, “You arrogant ass, you have killed US! The masters of the universe are doing it to all of us.

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