Sunday, October 09, 2005
Sue's hat trick...
One would hope that our Representative in Congress would be sensitive to these particularly suburban issues: few of us can really get anywhere without our cars and shivering all winter is not healthy for our kids. But on Friday, Sue proved -- with three separate votes -- that she's more in tune with Republican leaders than her own suburban voters. On an energy bill passed by a narrow margin of 212-210, Sue voted with the Republican majority even though 13 Republicans crossed party lines. Almost all of those who crossed, including Christopher Shays from nearby Connecticut, seem to understand that something needs to be done about high heating bills. But the legislation does absolutely nothing to address this problem.
As if that wasn't bad enough, Sue also voted against legislation that would expand the number of people who qualify for the federal Home Energy Assistance Program and also voted against a proposal that would impose severe fines on companies that engage in price-gouging.
Even worse is that Sue sounded very concerned about energy issues in a brief interview that ran last week in the Putnam County Courier where Sue told a reporter that the country needed to come up with a sound energy policy. So she said the right thing to a local reporter, but in the space of a few hours back in DC, she managed to make things easier for price gougers, while making life harder for the people she supposedly represents.
Last Friday, Sue Kelly voted for a bill, sponsored by Rep. Barton, that
exploits the hardships caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to give
subsidies and other benefits to refineries. The bill passed by a
212-210 vote, so it would have died if Kelly had not voted for dirty
air and big oil.
An early version of the bill would have gutted a key section of the
Clean Air Act that New York and other states downwind of the huge
polluting coal-fired power plants of the Midwest have used to force the
power plants to cut their emissions. At the last minute that provision
was struck, but the rest of the bill is also terrible for clean air and
consumers. The bill that Kelly supported will delay clean air
deadlines, leaving us in New York and elsewhere to breath unhealthy air
for many more years. It would provide subsidies to refineries, even
though financing is not the reason for the fact that few refineries
have been built recently and won't help reduce the current price of
gas. The bill would also run roughshod over state efforts to protect
their environment -- something we all know is critical these days since
the federal government is doing nothing to help us.
Sue Kelly has no excuse for supporting this bad air bill. Clean air
should not be a partisan issue. Regardless of politics, New York has
unhealthy air in large part because of pollution coming in from Ohio,
Illinois, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and other upwind states that have
refused to force their polluters to clean up. Among the leaders
opposing the bill was New York Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, a Republican
from upstate. Other stalwarts in the fight against this
administration's effort to weaken clean air laws are the Republican
senators from Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.
Sadly, Kelly abandoned her constituents' lungs in order to give more
breaks to the oil industry.
If we treat every drop of water as drinking water we'll start making
the right decisions for our communities and our futures. [www.planputnam.org]