April 22, 2005

Rep. Peter King back Tom Delay rather than NY

Republican Rep. Peter King voted for the Tom Delay backed bill.

Republican Rep. Joe Barton of Texas called the vote, `a surrogate vote on Tom DeLay'.

One Republican leader, Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, called the MTBE amendment "a surrogate vote on Tom DeLay."

DeLay, who has come under fire from Democrats because of ethics issues, had insisted on the MTBE industry protection in the 2003 energy bill.
The New York Republican Peter King voted to shield MTBE companies from liability.

WASHINGTON -- A Long Island water official said Friday he is shocked by Rep. Peter King's reversal on a controversial water contamination issue _ a vote that pitted local concerns against loyalty to embattled House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

"This really is disappointing, it's not helping New York, and I hope that our representatives rethink the picture here," said Paul Granger, superintendent of the Plainview water district, which is in King's district.

I'm still kind of shocked," said Granger.
The legislative battle revolves around MTBE, a gasoline additive that in many parts of New York has leaked from underground storage tanks into drinking water. DeLay, R-Texas, has sought language shielding MTBE producers from lawsuits over contamination.
The amendment pass 219-213 on the updated version of the energy bill. Who cast the deciding votes?

The vote saw New York Republicans King and Vito Fossella of Staten Island vote to shield the MTBE companies. Also voting for the liability protection were upstaters James Walsh, R-Onondaga, Thomas Reynolds, R-Clarence, Randy Kuhl, R-Hammondsport, and John McHugh, R-Pierrepont Manor.
Two New York Republicans, Sherwood Boehlert of New Hartford, and John Sweeney of Clifton Park, voted against shielding MTBE producers.

No New York Democrat voted to shield the companies.

With a winning margin of just six votes, New York lawmakers could have tipped the balance the other way.
Who are the New York Republicans loyal to Tom Delay or New York?


House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

Today, communities across America are suffering the effects of MTBE. MTBE contamination of groundwater and surface water is a major problem in my state of California, and many drinking water wells have had to be shut down because of this contaminant. MTBE contamination has been detected in all 50 states, and a recent study indicates that it could cost between $12 and $63 billion to clean up. That's $12 to $63 billion to clean up something the industry knew was dirty to begin with, and withheld information about that from Congress.

"Not surprisingly, the MTBE producers and the big oil companies want to be protected from liability for contaminating our drinking water supplies. And not surprisingly, Tom DeLay and House Republicans are happy to oblige. Mr. DeLay insisted on the MTBE provision in the last Congress, even at the cost of killing the energy bill. He insisted on it again this year. In fact, this is the Majority Leader's bill we are debating today.

"Instead of eliminating MTBE now, the Republican energy bill gives nine years for a phase out, nine years of MTBE leaking into our water supply. And a loophole may even allow MTBE to be used indefinitely. It gives MTBE producers liability protection in contamination lawsuits and it gives a $2 billion subsidy to MTBE manufacturers.

"According to the Republican Congress, you pollute our groundwater and you get $2 billion. That's your gift for contaminating our groundwater. Republicans are not even giving MTBE polluters a slap on the wrist; they are giving them a pat on the back.

"But in their attempt to shield MTBE producers and big oil companies from accountability, Republicans have created a huge unfunded mandate for states and localities, and it is taxpayers who are stuck with the bill. Remember unfunded mandates? Wasn't that principle number one of the Contract with America? No unfunded mandates.
The Republican Party has no principles.


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