Washington, D.C. – “The swearing-in of the 114th Congress spells trouble for our food, water and environment, and all those who seek to champion healthy, safe communities for our families. We may be looking at the most hostile Congress ever in terms of protecting the environment.
“James Inhofe (R-Okla.), a notorious climate change denier and an unabashed champion for the fossil fuel industry, will likely chair the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Expect the committee to intensify its bullying of environmentalists, especially in light of the game-changing decision by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to ban fracking. As opposition to fracking continues to grow across the country, we are likely to see radical actions taken by anti-environment members of Congress.
“Last July, the then minority Republican staff of the committee released a report that targeted environmental groups and their funders in an attempt to silence groups working in the public interest. This should surprise no one, given that David Vitter, who headed the minority staff at the time, receives a majority of his campaign cash from the oil and gas industry. He also owns significant amounts of stock in companies that will be adversely affected by the Obama administration’s power plant rules.
“Then, in November, a subcommittee released a report on fracking calling advocates ‘extremists.’ It’s chilling to see policymakers taking a page from industry-backed astroturf campaigns and front groups whose discredited attacks have no place in serious policy discussions.
“Given the mounting evidence that fracking harms public health and the environment, we anticipate chilling attacks by the industry, via the politicians they support, on environmental advocates, academics and any other voice that raises concerns about fracking. But we won’t be cowed by the bullying and a McCarthy-like atmosphere. Environmental advocacy is not illegal.
“Meanwhile, we will continue to support one good piece of legislation: the bill to ban fracking on public lands, introduced by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.)”
Contact: Seth Gladstone – [email protected], 718.943.8063