Friday, June 30, 2006



Yesterday Richard Pombo got a potentially catastrophic anti-environmental, pro-Big Oil bill passed by the Republican rubber stamp House. The bill, which passed 232-187, would end a quarter-century offshore drilling ban and allow energy companies to tap natural gas and oil beneath waters from Maine to Alaska. The bill is considered particularly politically toxic in Florida and California since its impact would probably wreck the states' multibillion dollar tourist and recreation industries.

Pombo, chairman of the House Resources Committee, rammed the bill through and dismissed other congressmen's concerns by saying "You can't say no on everything." Pombo, widely considered to be the most in-the-pocket-of-Big-Oil of anyone in either house of Congress, routinely says yes to everything that Big Business asks for-- as long as they keep paying him off.

Even some Republicans opposed Pombo's outrageous legislation, which is expected to die in the Senate. "We should not be opening all of our coasts to oil drilling when we have not taken the first step to conserve oil," said Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), Chairman of the House Science Committee, who wanted to put into the bill a requirement to increase automobile fuel economy, but was prevented from doing so.

Pombo's opponent, Jerry McNerney, an alternative energy expert, has gained popularity in CA-11 by pointing out that Pombo refuses to ever say no to Big Oil, no matter how detrimental their demands. He, as well as many environmental groups, agree that Pombo is "the number one shill for Big Oil in Congress." Even Schwarzenegger has told Pombo the bill would be a disaster for California and has declared that he will oppose it.

"I have called Richard Pombo 'Big Oil's Best Friend' because he has no problem putting the best interests of Big Oil ahead of the American people. Pombo's bill is riddled with industry-friendly loopholes that blow yet another hole in the Federal budget," explains McNerney.

Most of the fake Dems who normally support Republican Big Business initiatives were on board with this horrendous piece of legislation (with a few exceptions of congressmen afraid that voters will defeat them for their anti-consumer/anti-worker records-- particularly Melissa Bean and Al Wynn). But the list of Democrats includes most of the regular suspects with the consistently worst voting records: Skelton (MO), Matheson (UT), Boswell (IA), Marshall (GA), Peterson (MN), Cuellar (TX), Mollohan (WV), Herseth (SD), Barrow (GA), Edwards (TX), Melancon (LA), Holden (PA), Boren (OK), Costa (CA), Berry (AR), etc.

Meanwhile I was struck by how many normally straight-down-the-line corporate hacks on the Republican side were afraid to vote for this bill. This was especially true of weak GOP incumbents with strong and surging Democratic challengers. For example, all 3 of the deadmen walking southeast Pennsylvania Republicans-- crazy Curt Weldon, Jim Gerlach and Mike Fitzpatrick-- ran from their usual voting patterns in fear of, respectively, Joe Sestak, Lois Murphy and Patrick Murphy. Similarly in Connecticut, the 3 endangered Republican corporate hacks, Nancy Johnson, Rob Simmons and Chris Shays refused to back Pombo this close to the election, where normally all three could be counted on for their rubber stamp dependability. Even right wing kook/coward Dave Reichert (WA-08), under intense pressure from Darcy Burner, has suddenly backed away from Pombo and the GOP Big Business-owned mob.

Anyone who makes a contribution today to Jerry McNerney's campaign at the DWT ACT BLUE Page will win a cool music CD. That's on top of the satisfaction of knowning you're contributing to the political demise of the worst threat to the environment of any of Bush's rubber stamp congressloons.