Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Watch a U.S. senator in action, fronting for a special interest

This sort of thing happens all the time in D.C., though it is not always quite so blatant.

Watch a U.S. senator in action, fronting for a special interest at about 86:40 into the webcast.

In this case, it is Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), fronting for the cruise line industry at an appropriations hearing on the U.S. EPA's budget.

With talking points obviously written by lobbyists for cruise line companies, Murkowski grilled EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on upcoming lower-sulfur fuel standards for ocean-going ships within a 200-mile zone of the U.S. coast. EPA has concluded that these standards could prevent up to 31,000 premature deaths a year.

The cruise ship industry is lobbying hard to weaken the standards. They are floating what Murkowski euphemistically called "an alternative compliance mechanism" that EPA says would lead to more emissions and more health damage.

EPA has already told this to Murkowski in a letter, but she doggedly soldiers on, trying to pressure Jackson to "give some consideration" to the industry approach.

Jackson responded politely but didn't roll over.

But we expect the cruise ship industry to continue pressing its case in Congress. Could a budget "rider" on this be far away??

1 comment:

Frank O'Donnell, Clean Air Watch said...

An addendum: according to her first quarter 2012 filing with the Federal Election Commission, Murkowski received $1,500 from the Holland America PAC and $1,500 from the Princess Cruise PAC this year. Is $1,500 now the going rental rate?