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With dirt as a pollutant, could there be any hope that the earth will ever be cleaned up?

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House Won’t Make Dirt a Pollutant

With dirt as a pollutant, could there be any hope that the earth will ever be cleaned up?

On November 6, by a vote of 188 to 210, the House defeated a motion by Rep. Bob Filner (D.-Calif.) to instruct conferees on the energy bill (H.R. 6) to remove a section that will make it easier to use America’s natural resources.

The energy bill was being negotiated at the time in a House-Senate conference committee. Filner’s motion would have forced the diversion of storm runoff water for the sake of oil and gas exploration to be approved by the Environmental Protection Agency even though such approval is not required under the Clean Water Act. Despite the law, the EPA would have gotten an effective veto over oil exploration projects, because Filner’s motion to instruct would have allowed EPA bureaucrats to block projects by requiring permits for the construction of exploration sites.

“Sometimes the Republican Party is called the GOP,” said Filner. “Well, I often wondered what that meant. It is clear from this energy bill that it means ‘Gas, Oil and Petroleum.’ And my motion would instruct the conferees to strike a section of H.R. 6 which represents a shameless payback to the oil and gas companies of this nation.”

Filner complained that the section in question “grants oil and gas companies a free pass from complying with the Clean Water Act. . .Under this section, oil and gas development and production sites and construction sites do not have to worry about what their activities are doing to our water supply. No other industry in America gets this exemption; only the oil and gas development and production industry. And, they are under no obligation to control storm water runoff that would sully our beautiful lakes, rivers, and streams, and they suffer no consequences.”

But Rep. Joe Barton (R.-Tex.) pointed out that the Clean Water Act has always explicitly exempted oil and gas exploration from the EPA’s permitting jurisdiction. EPA bureaucrats, he said, have nonetheless tried to regulate oil and gas exploration, by requiring permits for construction of exploration sites that need to divert water around exploration projects.

Barton said that the new bill would end this absurd practice, which clearly contradicts the spirit of the law on the books.

“The EPA seems willing to entertain those and argue that dirt, D-I-R-T, is a contaminant.”

The liberal Filner shot back that dirt is indeed a contaminant. “[T]here is no evidence, even from the oil and gas industries, even from the GOP, that the storm water flowing through the construction sites are free of sediments or other pollutants,” he said. “That is what makes them contaminated.”

With his remarks, Filner dashed several members’ hopes that the earth can ever be cleaned up.

A “yes” vote was a vote for the motion to instruct, and, in effect, was a vote to classify dirt as a pollutant. A “no” vote was a vote against the motion to instruct.

FOR THE MOTION: 188 AGAINST THE MOTION: 210
REPUBLICANS FOR: 24
Boehlert
Bradley (NH)
Castle
Davis, Tom
Ehlers
Gerlach
Gilchrest
Green (WI)
Greenwood
Harris
Johnson (IL)
Kelly
Kirk
LaHood
Leach
LoBiondo
McHugh
Petri
Ramstad
Ros-Lehtinen
Saxton
Shays
Smith (NJ)
Walsh

DEMOCRATS FOR: 163
Abercrombie
Allen
Andrews
Baca
Baird
Baldwin
Ballance
Becerra
Berkley
Berry
Bishop (GA)
Bishop (NY)
Blumenauer
Boswell
Boucher
Boyd
Brady (PA)
Brown, Corrine
Capps
Capuano
Cardin
Cardoza
Carson (IN)
Case
Clay
Clyburn
Conyers
Cooper
Costello
Crowley
Cummings
Davis (CA)
Davis (FL)
Davis (IL)
Davis (TN)
DeGette
Delahunt
DeLauro
Deutsch
Dicks
Dingell
Doggett
Dooley (CA)
Doyle
Emanuel
Engel
Eshoo
Etheridge
Evans
Farr
Filner
Ford
Frank (MA)
Frost
Gordon
Grijalva
Gutierrez
Harman
Hill
Hoeffel
Holden
Holt
Honda
Hoyer
Inslee
Israel
Jackson (IL)
Jackson-Lee (TX)
Jefferson
Johnson, E. B.
Kanjorski
Kaptur
Kennedy (RI)
Kildee
Kind
Kleczka
Langevin
Lantos
Larsen (WA)
Larson (CT)
Lee
Levin
Lewis (GA)
Lofgren
Lowey
Lucas (KY)
Lynch
Maloney
Markey
Marshall
Matheson
Matsui
McCarthy (MO)
McCarthy (NY)
McCollum
McDermott
McGovern
McIntyre
McNulty
Meek (FL)
Meeks (NY)
Menendez
Michaud
Millender-McDonald
Miller, George
Miller (NC)
Moore
Moran (VA)
Murtha
Nadler
Neal (MA)
Oberstar
Obey
Olver
Owens
Pallone
Pascrell
Pastor
Payne
Pelosi
Pomeroy
Price (NC)
Rahall
Ross
Roybal-Allard
Ruppersberger
Rush
Ryan (OH)
Sabo
Sanchez, Linda
Sanchez, Loretta
Schakowsky
Schiff
Scott (GA)
Scott (VA)
Serrano
Sherman
Skelton
Slaughter
Smith (WA)
Snyder
Solis
Spratt
Stark
Strickland
Stupak
Tanner
Tauscher
Thompson (CA)
Thompson (MS)
Tierney
Udall (CO)
Van Hollen
Velazquez
Visclosky
Waters
Watson
Watt
Waxman
Weiner
Wexler
Woolsey
Wynn

INDEPENDENTS FOR: 1
Sanders

REPUBLICANS AGAINST: 191
Aderholt
Akin
Bachus
Baker
Ballenger
Barrett (SC)
Bartlett (MD)
Barton (TX)
Bass
Beauprez
Bereuter
Biggert
Bilirakis
Bishop (UT)
Blackburn
Blunt
Boehner
Bonilla
Bonner
Bono
Boozman
Brady (TX)
Brown (SC)
Brown-Waite, V.
Burgess
Burns
Calvert
Camp
Cannon
Cantor
Capito
Carter
Chabot
Chocola
Coble
Cole
Collins
Crane
Crenshaw
Cubin
Culberson
Cunningham
Davis, Jo Ann
Deal (GA)
DeLay
DeMint
Diaz-Balart, L.
Diaz-Balart, M.
Doolittle
Dreier
Duncan
Dunn
Emerson
English
Everett
Feeney
Ferguson
Flake
Foley
Forbes
Fossella
Franks (AZ)
Frelinghuysen
Gallegly
Garrett (NJ)
Gibbons
Gillmor
Gingrey
Goode
Goodlatte
Goss
Granger
Graves
Hart
Hastings (WA)
Hayes
Hayworth
Hefley
Hensarling
Herger
Hobson
Hoekstra
Hostettler
Houghton
Hulshof
Hunter
Hyde
Isakson
Issa
Istook
Janklow
Jenkins
Johnson, Sam
Jones (NC)
Keller
Kennedy (MN)
King (IA)
King (NY)
Kingston
Kline
Knollenberg
Kolbe
Latham
LaTourette
Lewis (KY)
Linder
Lucas (OK)
Manzullo
McCotter
McCrery
McKeon
Mica
Miller, Gary
Miller (FL)
Miller (MI)
Moran (KS)
Murphy
Musgrave
Myrick
Nethercutt
Neugebauer
Ney
Northup
Norwood
Nunes
Osborne
Ose
Otter
Oxley
Pearce
Pence
Peterson (PA)
Pickering
Pitts
Platts
Pombo
Porter
Portman
Pryce (OH)
Putnam
Radanovich
Regula
Rehberg
Renzi
Reynolds
Rogers (AL)
Rogers (KY)
Rogers (MI)
Rohrabacher
Royce
Ryan (WI)
Ryun (KS)
Schrock
Sensenbrenner
Sessions
Shadegg
Shaw
Sherwood
Shimkus
Shuster
Simmons
Simpson
Smith (MI)
Smith (TX)
Souder
Stearns
Sullivan
Sweeney
Tancredo
Tauzin
Taylor (NC)
Terry
Thomas
Thornberry
Tiahrt
Tiberi
Toomey
Turner (OH)
Upton
Vitter
Wamp
Weldon (FL)
Weldon (PA)
Weller
Whitfield
Wicker
Wilson (NM)
Wilson (SC)
Wolf
Young (AK)
Young (FL)

DEMOCRATS AGAINST: 19
Alexander
Bell
Carson (OK)
Cramer
Edwards
Gonzalez
Green (TX)
Hall
Hinojosa
John
Lampson
Mollohan
Peterson (MN)
Rodriguez
Sandlin
Stenholm
Taylor (MS)
Turner (TX)
Udall (NM)

NOT VOTING: 36

REPUBLICANS (13): DEMOCRATS (23): INDEPENDENTS (0)
Burr
Burton (IN)
Buyer
Cox
Fletcher
Gutknecht
Johnson (CT)
Lewis (CA)
McInnis
Nussle
Paul
Quinn
Walden (OR)
Ackerman
Berman
Brown (OH)
Davis (AL)
DeFazio
Fattah
Gephardt
Hastings (FL)
Hinchey
Hooley (OR)
Jones (OH)
Kilpatrick
Kucinich
Lipinski
Majette
Meehan
Napolitano
Ortiz
Rangel
Reyes
Rothman
Towns
Wu
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