Though in the past he's been an environmental advocate part of the time, newly crowned Chairman Fred Upton's actions in recent months clearly indicate that the legacy he plans to leave as Chair of the powerful Energy & Commerce committee is one that puts polluter interests ahead of the public interest. Here are 10 need-to-know facts about Chairman Fred Upton, all featured on the newly launched www.UptonUpdates.com:
1. THEN: Upton supported the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. NOW: He wants to stop the EPA's from enforcing commonsense safeguards to curb pollution under the Act.
2. April 2009: Upton acknowledged that climate change is "a serious problem that necessitates serious solutions." January 2011: He scrubbed this position from his website when Fox News highlighted it.
3. In 2007, Upton co-authored a measure to ban inefficient, incandescent light bulbs, but after pressure from Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, said he will "reexamine the issue."
4. Upton coauthored a Wall Street Journal op-ed with the president of Americans for Prosperity, stating he's "not convinced that carbon is a problem in need of regulation."
5. Koch Industries, one of the leading oil companies seeking to block the EPA, was among Upton's top contributors last election cycle, along with other dirty energy companies.
6. Upton was among the top 20 recipients in the U.S. House of oil and gas money in 2010, and has taken almost $250,000 from the oil and gas industry during his career.
7. Oil industry lobbyists on Upton: "our interests and his and the Republican conference's align, especially on EPA stuff."
8. Days after becoming Chair, Upton took a front row seat at the American Petroleum Institute's preview of their 2011 agenda.
9. To advise him on energy issues, Upton hired Maryam Brown, a veteran of Big Oil's ConocoPhillips.
10. Aides to Upton and Jim "Global Warming is a Hoax" Inhofe met with lobbyists behind closed doors to plot an all-out push to block federal and state climate rules.
Check out www.UptonUpdates.com to learn more about Chairman Fred Upton.
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