Why Not Just Feed Babies Arsenic? - Think Progress

The House of Representatives is currently considering a bill that would drastically cut funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and severely limit the agency’s ability to protect human health and the environment.

Known as the 2012 Interior-EPA Appropriations bill (H.R. 2584), it would delay critical clean air rules by more than a year and prevent the EPA from regulating toxic emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Our congressional delegation is generally pretty divided along party lines when it comes to major public health issues such as this – generally, Braley/Loebsack support the independence of the EPA and King/Latham oppose. Boswell is typically a swing vote. More below the fold if you are interested in taking action!

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Congressional Candidates' Views on Clean Energy, Climate Change: IA-03

Originally posted on The MarkUp. This is the eleventh article in a continuing series by the NRDC Action Fund on the environmental stances of candidates in key races around the country.

 

Today, we examine Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District, stretching from Des Moines to the Cedar Falls-Waterloo area.  The district’s economy is heavily agricultural, but also has a large financial and insurance sector component, with Des Moines referred to as “the Hartford of the West” for that reason.  Since 1997, Democrat Leonard Boswell has represented the 3rd congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives.  This year, Boswell is being challenged by Republican State Senator Brad Zaun.

 

So far in this campaign, Boswell has strongly defended his record and has attacked Zaun for “his opposition to Iowa's biofuels industry, which employs thousands of farmers and factory workers in the state.” For his part, Zaun has attempted to tie Boswell to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Barack Obama, while running a series entitled, “Fourteen Reasons Why We Need a New Congressman.”

 

On clean energy and environmental issues, Rep. Boswell has an excellent record.  In 2009, for instance, Boswell received a near-perfect 93% rating from the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), as well as a 100% rating from Environment America. Boswell voted for the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), an extraordinarily important piece of environmental legislation which the New York Times described as “the first time either house of Congress had approved a bill meant to curb the heat-trapping gases scientists have linked to climate change.” At the time of his vote for ACES, Boswell said that the legislation  “would harness the most innovative workforce in the world to create a clean energy future, creating millions of jobs in the process.”  Boswell added that “[e]nergy independence is vital to our national security and economic future, and this legislation advances this goal while confronting the serious challenge of climate change.”

 

For his part, Brad Zaun received a mediocre rating of 42% on the environment from the Iowa Sierra Club in 2009-2010.  In this video, Zaun declares, “I question global warming” and claims – incorrectly – that ACES will “cost businesses and all of us that have homes millions of dollars.”  In addition, Zaun claims that coal-fired power is far more economical than wind power (certainly not true if you count environmental and other “externalities”), brags that he’s being “compared to this one lady that says ‘drill, baby, drill,’” and argues that “we need to take advantage of our resources.”  On his website under “Energy and Natural Resources,” Zaun argues that America “must increase domestic oil and gas supply by exploring and utilizing more of the energy resources we have at home.” Message to Brad Zaun: we saw the results of that approach in the Gulf of Mexico this past summer!

 

On the other hand, Zaun has not joined most of his fellow Republican candidates this year and signed the Americans for Prosperity “No Climate Tax Pledge.”  Zaun also advocates “exploring alternative sources of energy…including nuclear, wind, solar and other alternative energies.” And, Zaun says, “We must be careful stewards of all of our precious natural resources by always avoiding strategies which unnecessarily damage our landscape or environment or pose health risks to our citizens.” That’s all well and good. But advocating for coal-fired power, “drill, baby, drill,” and global warming skepticism is a very funny way to accomplish those goals.

 

The NRDC Action Fund believes that it is important for the public in general, and the voters of specific Congressional districts, be aware of this information as they weigh their choices for November.

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Take Action on Water Quality in Iowa

(Thanks for this important diary. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

Iowa's waters are dangerously polluted. The problem is caused by big industries (e.g. coal plants, meat processing facilities) which dump straight into our waterways toxic chemicals that cause cancer and reproductive and developmental disorders (see our 10/2009 report). Large-scale farming operations are also implicated.

The results are devastating for the health of human and natural communities across the state. The Iowa River, an important recreational resource and supplier of the Iowa City area's drinking water, has been listed as “endangered.” In Des Moines, the water works had to stop drawing drinking water from the Raccoon River in September because of the growth of pollution-fed algae.

Whether in Iowa City or Des Moines, we all are near some body of water and these waters are where we smim, fish, canoe, and indeed where many of us get our drinking water. It is imperative that we protect them.

Many Iowans know that the DNR has recently nominated certain waters in the state as “outstanding waters,” sparing them from further pollution. This process, known as the “anti-degradation” rule-making process, is required by federal law under the Clean Water Act (CWA).

Yet what many Iowans may not know is that, like the Iowa River, the CWA is itself fast becoming endangered.

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Environment Iowa Applauds State's Congressional Champs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, 12/30/09
Eric Nost, Environment Iowa | (515) 243-5835; cell (319) 621-0075 | enost@environmentiowa.org

Senator Tom Harkin (D) and Representative Leonard Boswell (D – 3rd District) voted for the environment 100 percent of the time in the past year and a half, according to the annual Congressional Scorecard released today by Environment Iowa.

Environment Iowa is releasing the scorecard as it continues its campaign to pass legislation in Congress to promote clean energy and cut global warming pollution.

“These scorecards are an important tool to educate Iowans about the voting records of our elected officials,” said Environment Iowa fellow Eric Nost. “They show that Senator Harkin and Congressmen Boswell have consistently decided to put the economy and the environment ahead of special interests. For instance, in the past year and a half, they voted to invest an unprecedented $80 billion in the kind of clean energy projects Iowa is uniquely poised to lead and benefit from.”

“Iowa is a national leader in the production and use of clean, home-grown sources of energy, and this industry continues to create jobs and grow our state's economy,” said Senator Harkin in a statement. “I am pleased to have supported legislation that reduces our dependence on foreign fuels, protects our environment and natural resources, and makes investments in the new energy economy. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress as we continue to address these important issues.”

Environment Iowa scored seven votes in the Senate ranging from an economic recovery bill with investments in public transit and energy efficiency to legislation saving the nation's coasts from offshore drilling.

In the House of Representatives, Environment Iowa scored 15 votes including funding to make schools more energy efficient and legislation protecting the Great Lakes.

Represntative Boswell and Senator Harkin were the only members of Congress from Iowa to receive a 100 percent score.

Representative Dave Loebsack (D), who represents Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, received a 93 percent. Represenative Bruce Braley (D), who represents Waterloo, Davenport, and Dubuque, earned an 80 percent. These numbers include a few absences from key votes that occurred during the floods of 2008.

With the help of these congressmen the 111th Congress has made significant progress in several key areas. In June the House passed a landmark bill to promote clean energy and limit global warming pollution.The Senate has yet to vote on its version of the legislation.

“We urge other members of Iowa's congressional delegation to work to strengthen our environmental laws—to curb global warming pollution, transition the country towards a cleaner energy future, and protect our most treasured waterways,” concluded Nost.

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Environment Iowa is citizen-based advocacy organization working for clean air, clean water, and open spaces.

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Becky & Iowa Dems SHAME on YOU! Gave Bush & Wall Street a blank check!

I am so rip-you know what mad at our party today.  We caved!  We caved — and we were bought off on some flood provisions that should have been passed already.  The worst part is that our delegation (and Becky Greenwald with her statement supporting Goerge Bush's plan!!!!!!!!) caved and gave George W. Bush a BLANK CHECK for $700 Billion of OUR money to give to his greedy buddies on Wall Street.  Where is the anger?!?!?!

Read the bill yourself — and here is one respected member's take on this:

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) issued the following statement after voting against the Wall Street bail out plan, H.R. 1424, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008:

 “The public is being led to believe that Congress has reconsidered its position because we have before us a better bill than we had a few days ago.  It is the same bill plus hundreds of new pages for hundreds of millions of tax breaks.  What does this have to do with the troubles of Wall Street?

 “Driven by fear we are moving quickly to pass a bill, which may produce a temporary uptick for the market, but nothing for millions of homeowners whose misfortunes are at the center of our economic woes. People do not have money to pay their mortgages.  After this passes, they will still not have money to pay their mortgages.  People will still lose their homes while Wall Street is bailed out.

 “The central flaw of this bill is that there are NO stronger protections for homeowners and NO changes in the language to ensure that the secretary has the authority to compel mortgage servicers to modify the terms of mortgages. And there are NO stronger regulatory changes to fix the circumstances that allowed this to happen.

 “We should have created a mechanism for our government to take a controlling interest in mortgage-backed securities and use our power to work out a new deal for the homeowners.  We could have done this.  We should have done this.  But we didn't.

 “Now millions of Americans will face the threat of foreclosure without any help.  And the numbers will soon rise for a number of reasons.  Not only because of the Alt-A, jumbo mortgages which will soon be reset at higher interest rates, but because the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) is pushing up rates on adjustable mortgages and more than half of the US adjustable mortgage rates are tied to LIBOR.  Homeowner defaults will grow in significant numbers.  Let’s see if Congress will be as quick to help homeowners on Main Street as they were to help speculators on Wall Street.

 “Now the government will have to borrow $700 billion from banks, with interest, to give banks a $700 billion bailout, and in return the taxpayers get $700 billion in toxic debt.  The Senate “improved” the bailout by giving tax breaks to people in foreclosure.  People in foreclosure need help paying their mortgage, they do not seek tax breaks.

 “Across our Nation, foreclosures continue to devastate our communities, people are losing their jobs, and the prices of necessities are skyrocketing. This legislation, just like the one we defeated last week, will do nothing to solve the problems plaguing American families or help them to get out from underneath the oppressive debt they have been forced to take on.

 “Unfortunately, there has been no discussion of the underlying debt-based economy and the role of our monetary system in facilitating the redistribution of wealth upwards.

 “It is not as though we had no choice but to pass the bill before us. We could have done this differently. We could have demanded language in the legislation that would have empowered the Treasury to compel mortgage servicers to rework the terms of mortgage loans so homeowners could avoid foreclosure. We could have put regulatory structures in place to protect investors.  We could have stopped the speculators.

 “This bill represents an utter failure of the Democratic process.  It represents the triumph of special interest over the triumph of the public interest.  It represents the inability of government to defend the public interest in the face of great pressure from financial interests.  We could have recognized the power of government to prime the pump of the economy to get money flowing through out society by creating jobs, health care, and major investments in green energy.  What a lost opportunity!  What a moment of transition away from democracy and towards domination of America by global economic interests.

 “Years ago, in a Cleveland neighborhood, I saw a hand-scrawled sign above a cash register in a delicatessen.  The sign said:  “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash.”  The sign above the Speaker's rostrum reads “In God We Trust,” but we are paying the cash to Wall Street.

 “It is not as if we had no other choice but to pass this bill.”

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At least Ed Fallon Didn't Vote for this Guy

Why is it wrong for Ed Fallon to have voted for supposed spoiler Ralph Nader, but nobody notices that Boswell is on record supporting the McCain's new foreign policy buddy?

 Joe and John

Old Joe Lieberman checked the “bearings” of Johnny Mac:

“I just want to report that this morning I personally checked John McCain’s bearings. He has not lost any of them. They are all in really great shape.”

(-from a CNN interview) 

I have just one word for Joe's personal bearings check- “Yuck.”

Unfortunately I have to admit that I too voted for the Sore/Loserman ticket in 2000. Double Yuck!

 

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