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We Already Have Representatives


Open letter to Fred Upton, chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce:

Although not a constituent, I am writing because your staff recently portrayed you as “championing” the interests of Californians, in addition to those of your own constituents.

In a New York Times article, your press secretary was quoted as follows:

“With Michigan and California both suffering from 12.4 percent unemployment, Fred is fighting to put folks back to work,” Mr. Bonyun wrote in an e-mail. “Jobs are disappearing at an alarming rate and will continue to flee overseas without the proper, sensible E.P.A. [Environmental Protection Agency] oversight that has been absent the last two years. In this new Congress, Fred will use every resource available to protect American workers and our economy by rolling back the job-killing G.H.G.[greenhouse gas] regulations.’

My response on behalf of myself, my friends, and neighbors is: “Thanks but no thanks; Californians are already quite satisfied with our many environmentally progressive, and economically astute, elected federal representatives, e.g, Senators Boxer and Feinstein, and Representative Lois Capps.”

Your quote, and the mind-set from which it emanates, is yet another example of the flawed “logic” (i.e., that there is conflict between a healthy environment and a healthy economy) that underlay failed Proposition 23, resoundingly rejected by California voters last November, as, inter alia, regressive and bad for the economy.

Pending “job-killing” EPA regulations would address the following:

A projected 181 Portland cement kilns will be operating at approximately 100 facilities in the United States in the year 2013. The amended air toxics requirements will apply to 158 of those kilns…

EPA estimates the following annual emission reductions when the rules are implemented in 2013:

Mercury: 16,600 pounds, a 92 percent reduction from projected 2013 emission levels;

Total hydrocarbons: 10,600 tons, a reduction of 83 percent;

Particulate matter: 11,500 tons, a 92 percent reduction;

Acid gases (measured as hydrochloric acid): 5,800 tons, a 97 percent reduction;

Sulfur dioxide (SO2): 110,000 tons, a 78 percent reduction; and

Nitrogen oxides (NOx): 6,600 tons, a reduction of 5 percent.”

Rather than attempting to derail regulations necessary to protect the health and safety of Americans, including American workers and other constituents of your district, perhaps you should concentrate on one of the real problems which actually contributes to current record levels of unemployment, e.g., outsourcing of jobs by the Big Three automakers.

Despite receiving billions of dollars from the federal government to keep them afloat, iconic American automakers Chrysler and General Motors are increasingly taking advantage of the free movement of labor allowed by the North American Free Trade Agreement and outsourcing jobs to Mexico, according to Bloomberg News.”

As your colleague, Representative Dingell (D-Mich), is quoted in the NY Times article as saying:

‘I understand the economic argument for the off-shoring of production, but I think the practice is reprehensible,” Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) said, according to Bloomberg News. “U.S. automakers have benefitted greatly from federal largesse and should feel morally compelled to retain and create as many domestic jobs as possible.’”

I am reasonably sure that both NAFTA, and the widespread “job-killing” practice of outsourcing it helped spawn, were already well established during the Bush Administration, and that neither was conceived nor promulgated by the E.P.A.



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