Special interest contributions to Rep. Upton dwarf those from his constituents

Since assuming the chairmanship of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Upton’s actions — such as promoting policies that hurt Michigan families or pandering to a big donor at a House hearing on air pollution — illustrate that he is prioritizing special interests’ profits over the well-being of his own constituents.

In looking over the contributions he has received so far this year, I couldn’t help wondering whether the overwhelming contributions from special interests were affecting his judgment:

  • Of the $350,000 he’s received so far this year, roughly 80% came from PACs (only two of which are from Michigan).
  • In fact, less than 10% of his contributions come directly from his constituents.

A glance at the list of contributors illustrates his ongoing popularity with the oil, coal and gas industries (which falls under Rep. Upton’s committee jurisdiction):

It’s interesting to note that there are no coal mines in Rep. Upton’s district, but he receives substantial donations from mining companies and is promoting policies that help them.

Rep Upton, shouldn’t you explain how your policies are protecting the people of Michigan, not supporting dirty energy polluters?

Rep. Upton hears from frustrated constituents

Last week, Rep. Upton went on a listening tour of his district and faced hard questions from constituents about his efforts to undermine the Clean Air Act.

It was great to see the outpouring of support for the Clean Air Act and public health — but Rep. Upton’s responses left much to be desired. One constituent summed up the situation very well:

While Rep. Upton was touring his district, the American Lung Association launched a billboard campaign urging him to end his attacks on the Clean Air Act.

With more than two thirds of Rep. Upton’s constituents opposing his efforts against the Clean Air Act, Rep. Upton should listen to the clear will of his constituents and support public health instead of trying to undermine the Clean Air Act.

The Realities of the Clean Air Act

Even as environmental safeguards come under attack like never before, a recent EPA study shows that the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments brings $26 of benefits for every $ 1 in costs. That’s more than $2 trillion in direct benefits by 2020.

For example, in 2010 alone the reductions in fine particle and ozone pollution from the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments prevented more than:
• 160,000 cases of premature death
• 130,000 heart attacks
• 13 million lost work days
• 1.7 million asthma attacks1

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We Must Put Out Newt Gingrich’s Wildfire Before It Starts

Newt Gingrich is at it again.  In an attempt to “one up” his fellow Tea-Party political climbers, “Contract on America” (COA) Newt has declared that Congress should abolish the EPA.  Actually, maybe I am not being fair.  He wants to disband the agency, ripping out the “protection” part of the EPA’s mission, and replace it with a shiny new teeny-tiny organization that is going to work closely with corporate polluters.  COA Newt wants the new entity to focus on science (that he doesn’t seem to believe in) and technology (that he wants to cut spending for).  What hypocrisy!  He goes on to point out his belief that “the EPA is basically opposing things.”  You mean, things like dirty air, COA Newt?  I am pretty happy that their goal is still protection.  I just wish we had an agency that could protect us from these kinds of ridiculous ideas.

The Environmental PROTECTION Agency PROTECTS my family.  The fundamental laws it enforces keep our water drinkable, swimmable, and fishable.  EPA has reduced the number of asthma visits to emergency rooms by our kids (and still has a ways to go).  EPA provides small communities low-interest loans to update their sewers and water infrastructure.  EPA cleans up toxic waste dumps when the corporate polluters (you know, the ones COA New wants to partner with) abandon them – leaving communities  — often the poorest — in crisis.  COA Newt might want to paint EPA scientists as a bunch of bureaucratic tree huggers but make no mistake – this agency is all about the health of your family.

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