Breaking: Did polluter lobbyists write the Murkowski amendment?

by Mike Gaworecki

January 12, 2010

When I wrote "big polluters are now on the offensive to protect their profits, and their allies in Congress are only too happy to help them," I was actually under the assumption that Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski was just taking her cues from polluter lobbyists. But it turns out that she actually worked with lobbyists who represent "some of the worst polluters in the nation" while writing the amendment she was planning to propose next week that would strip the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, according to Brendan Demelle over at DesmogBlog.

Update: Politico has some new revelations about how deeply involved the lobbyists were in writing the Murkowski amendment. According to the article, they "led" a meeting in which they "walked Senate staffers through the details of the amendment."

polar bear at US capitolOur own Kert Davies has a great quote in Demelle’s post, which also sheds some light on just why Murkowski might be in bed with corporate polluters whose interests are definitely not those of the people Murkowski ostensibly represents:

"This Murkowski rider should be called the Protect Dirty Polluters amendment, especially since we now know that it was written by polluter lobbyists," Kert Davies, Director of the new PolluterWatch project at Greenpeace, told me today.

"If this amendment passed, it would be a get out of jail free card for the worst polluters from Big Oil and Big Coal," Davies said.

And who better to deliver this gift to the carbon barons?  A darling of the Carbon Club, Sen. Murkowski has received $470,000 in campaign contributions from dirty energy and mining interests since 2005, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

This just points out the obvious: Big polluters hold an inordinate amount of influence over our elected representatives. Our pockets may not be as deep as theirs, but we have the numbers – and we need to push back hard. Only overwhelming grassroots demand for climate solutions can overcome corporate polluters’ money.

Sign our petition to call on the Senators who were elected to represent you to vote in your interest, not in the interest of corporate polluters.

We sent a letter to Senator Barbara Boxer, chair of the Senate’s ethics panel, stating, “We think the public deserves at least an inquiry from the Senate Committee on Ethics into the depth of the relationship between Senator Murkowski’s staff and these two lobbyists.” So there’s obviously more to come on this story. Stay tuned. And in the meantime, sign our petition and help us push back against the polluter lobbyists.

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