Bill Helps Oil Industry, Not Hurricane Victims and Other Americans

Statement by Karen Wayland, NRDC Legislative Director

WASHINGTON (October 7, 2005) -- Under the guise of hurricane relief to ease high energy prices, the U.S. House of Representatives today voted narrowly (212-210) to pass fast-moving energy legislation, H.R. 3893, sponsored by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas). That the bill will further boost the fortunes of wealthy oil and gas companies is certain, but those industry profits will come at the expense of public health while offering no real relief to Americans facing higher energy prices.

The following is a statement by Karen Wayland, legislative director for Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC):

"The Bush administration and its cronies in Congress are shamelessly exploiting the hurricanes to ram through legislation that only benefits polluters, especially big oil and gas companies."

"In a blatant abuse of power, House leadership bent the rules to extend the vote beyond the allowed time in order to win passage."

"Unfortunately, the bill would do little or nothing to address the energy issues caused by recent hurricanes, but a lot to line the pockets of big oil and energy companies."

"This is the same old polluters' agenda they have not been able to get away with in the past, and now they are exploiting the hurricanes to ram this through. They are kicking Gulf Coast victims while they are down and hurting other Americans, too."

"The bill is a wish list for big oil companies and it will force Americans to breathe dirtier air. It delays smog clean-up deadlines, sabotages clean-up of dirty diesel engines, and gives other sweetheart deals to big oil companies. If enacted into law, it will mean more asthma for our kids, more respiratory illness for the elderly and greater risk of cancer."

"The winners here are big oil companies like Exxon that are already enjoying record profits. The losers are the rest of us, who are forced to breathe dirtier air and still pay higher prices at the pump and to heat our homes."