Monday, March 12, 2007

Rogues report: coal lobby ponies up for key House Democrat (and more)

Coal caper: With Congress at least seeming to get serious about global warming, the polluter money is starting to flow. A good example of this is the coal lobby, which has scheduled a March 20 fundraiser for a key House Democrat, Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA), who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality. Boucher’s panel, which, in theory, will be the starting point for global warming legislation in the House, continues its review of the issue this Wednesday as major car companies come in to testify. The electric utility industry will have its day before Boucher on March 20 – the same day as the coal fundraiser. (The coal boys are serious: this is a thousand dollar a head affair. See the invitation, below.)

The coal lobby obviously hopes that Boucher will be like the 300 Spartans and jam up the pass – and any attempt by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others to enact effective global warming legislation.

(Boucher, of course, is no political virgin when it comes to campaign contributions. The mining industry gave him more than $48,000 during the last election cycle – more than any other House Democrat -- according to the Center for Responsive Politics.)

Boucher told the Washington Post that his goal is to craft a bill on global warming that could win the support of House Republicans and industries that produce the greenhouse gases causing the atmospheric change.

"Chairman [John] Dingell and I are determined to fashion legislation that addresses global warming and do it in a very constructive way -- and our committee has jurisdiction over this," Boucher said.

Translation: if the coal boys cough up enough money, I will be sure to protect their interests.

Car caper: Speaking of rogues, the car companies are trying their own attempt to block global warming controls – specifically, the California motor vehicle standards for greenhouse gases. On March 22, an industry-initiated trial will begin in Vermont. No, that’s not a typo – the California vehicle standards will go on trial in Vermont, which is among the states that has adopted the California standards. (A California trial has been postponed until the Supreme Court rules on the big global warming case.) Stay tuned for more on the Vermont trial.


Spiting states? Later this week, the U.S. EPA is supposed to send its operating budget plan to Congress following the recent congressional adoption of a continuing budget resolution. This all sounds painfully dull, so let’s cut to the chase: Congress gave EPA some discretion about what to do with its budget, and word has leaked out that EPA plans to cut $18 million in grants to state and local air pollution control agencies. This is really a disgrace and appears to be retaliation against states that have pushed for better pollution controls in the face of intransigence by the Bush administration. Congress ought to intervene to straighten this mess out.
[Here is the coal industry invitation to the Boucher fundraiser:]

Arch Coal PAC
Foundation Coal PAC
National Mining Association PACs
Peabody Energy PAC

Cordially Invite You to a
Fundraising Breakfast
in honor of

Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA-9)
Energy & Commerce
Chairman, Subcommitee on Energy and Air Quality
Tuesday, March 20
8:30 a.m.

National Mining Association
101 Constitution Avenue, NW
Suite 500 East
Washington , DC

Suggested Contribution- $1,000
Please make checks payable to:
Boucher for Congress Committee
POBOX 2000Abingdon,VA24212

Please RSVP to:
Anne Foley at 202-463-2605
Paid for and authorized by Boucher for Congress Committee
Contributions to Boucher for Congress Committee are not tax deductible for federal income tax purposes. Federal law requires us to collect and report the name, mailing address, occupation, and name of employer of individuals whose contributions exceed $200 in an election cycle. Contributions by corporations and foreign nationals are prohibited. Not printed at government expense.

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