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There is most excellent news from the hallowed halls of Congress this morning: The Pallone-Solis Toxic Right-to-Know Amendment was passed by the House of Representatives yesterday by a vote of 231 to 187. The amendment to the Interior Appropriations bill prevents the EPA from spending so much as one thin dime on enacting changes that would dramatically reduce the effectiveness of the Toxic Release Inventory.
This is a huge victory for our team. And while we’re not out of the woods yet (the Senate must reconcile the Interior bill with its own version and the House legislation could get trashed in the process), the passage of the Pallone-Solis amendment is a tremendous step forward in the fight to preserve our right to know what’s being put into our air, water, and soil. It puts a lot of people who thought they could away with this on notice that they can’t. At least not without a very serious fight and a lot of very bad election year PR.
Much thanks is due to all who heeded our plea and wrote to their respective Representatives. The effort to save the TRI generated more than 110,000 comments from the public, and, this being an election year, Congress actually listened. Hallelujah.
In addition to preserving the TRI, a host of Republican Representatives apparently fearful the voting public will discover their nefarious conspiracy to dismantle every last stitch of environmental protection put in place since the Nixon administration and sell the planet up the river to the highest bidder also passed a slew of other good environmental measures that include preserving the ban on offshore drilling, blocking the funds needed to build new roads in Alaska’s ancient Tongass National Forest, barring the Interior Department from slaughtering wild horses, and directing the EPA not to implement a 2003 directive that reduces wetland protections. Not bad for a days work.