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Scott Slesinger’s Blog

More Pollution or We Will Shutdown the Government?

Scott Slesinger

Posted December 12, 2011 in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, U.S. Law and Policy

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In their `Pledge to America’’ after taking over the U.S. House of Representatives last year, Republicans vowed to end the practice (at page 33) of packing unpopular bills with must-pass legislation.

So guess what they’re doing?

Under pressure from tea party anti-government extremists and special interest groups who are pouring money into next fall’s campaigns, House GOP leaders are tacking a last-minute laundry list of anti-environmental “riders” on to spending and tax relief bills that must be passed by the end of this week to keep the government running.

So much for that GOP promise.

These riders won’t do anything to address spending, create jobs or make the country better.

What they will do, among other things, is force a premature judgment on the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, block the Environmental Protection Agency from updating public health protections against mercury emissions and carbon dioxide pollution from power plants, and weaken the Endangered Species Act.

By larding up spending and tax relief bills with these unrelated riders, House Republicans also threaten to put the country on the brink of another fiscal crisis, just like it did earlier this year when their intractability led to downgrading of U.S. debt and put the stock market into a tailspin.

Republicans, of course, have been attacking environmental standards all year long.  Instead of pushing for legislation that could actually create jobs and save money, they’ve chosen to waste their time pursuing political ideologies.

Now, once again, they’re running out of time.

As Politico put it in a front-page story,  “the roster of unfinished business from this Congress is legion.”

So, apparently, is House Republicans’ zeal to shoot down our environment and health protections.

No matter what the cost is to our country.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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