As the first assault on clean air and clean water safeguards takes shape in the new Congress, Americans would be well advised to investigate how the man leading the assault, Appropriations Chair Hal Rogers, has served his own constituents. If the state of his East Kentucky district is any indication of the direction that Rogers wants to take the country, there is a lot to worry about.
In case you haven't heard, dozens of proposed amendments to the House Budget Bill (H.R. 1) would strip EPA of funding to update and enforce safeguards for mountaintop removal mines, coal ash storage ponds, and emissions of hazardous air pollutants from coal-fired power plants. If these amendments are approved, House Republicans would successfully turn back the clock on all of the clean air and clean water safeguards put in place over the past two years and bring back the polluter-friendly rules of the Bush Administration.
The man overseeing the budget is Hal Rogers of Kentucky, whose district is home to more than half of the 500 mountains already destroyed by mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia. Not only does Rogers' district lead the nation in mountains destroyed, it also leads the nation in human misery according to the Gallup-Healthways 2009 Well-Being Rankings. Of all 435 Congressional districts in America, Rogers' district ranked dead last in Gallup's overall well-being index, which combines information on physical and emotional well-being, life evaluation, work environment and basic access to government services.
There could be no clearer indication of where the new House leadership is trying to take the country. What are you going to do to stop them? [Hint: you can start by taking action here].