Sunday, October 02, 2005

Kline sides with Delay (sigh) and Big Oil Companies (again!)

Kline sided with Ethically-Challenged Delay and Big Oil over his Constituents’ Desire for Clean Drinking Water.

Congressman Kline had a chance to show who he really represent — his Minnesota constituents or the oil industry. During debate on the Energy Bill (HR-6), a motion was offered by Representative Lois Capps of California that would removed a controversial polluter immunity provision from the energy bill that would let oil companies off the hook for contaminating over 1,800 drinking water systems across the USA with a foul smelling and tasting gasoline additive, MTBE.

This vote was a no-brainer. The MTBE provision benefits a handful of BIG companies at the expense of millions of Americans nationwide whose water supplies are contaminated with MTBE, sometimes to the point of being totally undrinkable. In some cases the extremely high cleanup cost will be borne by the Congressional Districts’ taxpayers. In other words you and me!

According to industry documents, assembled at, MTBE was a refinery waste product that Big Oil representatives found a way to make profitable. MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether) was not a substance most people knew much about, or cared much about - until it started showing up in their drinking water. And it has been showing up a lot in recent years, both in private wells and in public water supplies. Oil companies knew that MTBE is an especially slick chemical that would leak from storage tanks and pollute water supplies, but they lobbied the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use it as an additive in gasoline. This is key to this issue...oil companies were not forced to adopt MTBE as a gasoline additive. And in fact they instead lobbied the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for permission to use it anyway. Today, Big Oil seeks exemption from liability by claiming their hand was forced.

According to some estimates, MTBE contamination exists in water supplies used by at least 15 million people in 15,000 U.S. communities, schools and businesses. A nationwide study by the U.S. Geological Survey has found MTBE in 86 percent of wells tested in industrial areas, 31 percent in commercial areas and 23 percent in residential areas. The cost of cleanup and containment is estimated at $29 billion.

Reps. Tom Delay and Joe Barton insisted on a provision in the Energy Bill (H.R. 6) that would make taxpayers, not big oil companies, pay to clean it up. The DeLay-Barton provision would immunize oil companies against dozens of defective product lawsuits brought by community water systems after September 5, 2003.

So guess how Kline voted? Did he side with Rep Capps’ motion to strike Tom DeLay’s MTBE polluter immunity provision from the Energy Bill. Did he stand firm against the corruption of Delay and Big Oil Companies? Did he vote in favor of the health and safety of his community?

Nope. Congressman Kline voted for the DeLay/Barton shield for oil companies. He rather Minnesotan’s citizens pay then the companies that polluted our drinking water.Congressman Kline voted in favor of lawsuit immunity for these drinking water polluters—and against the interests of his own constituents and thousands of communities nationwide. He betrayed the health of all CD2 community members in lieu of his friendship with Delay and Big Oil.

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