Politicians are always trying to sneak shit into important bills, so that when you vote to pass the Don't Starve America's Children Act you are also sneakily funding the Rich People Get To Use You As A Coffee Table rider. Because congressional Republicans evidently hate you and the world, they're shoving a bunch of anti-environmental riders into critically important spending and tax bills, holding those must-pass bills hostage unless they let environmental destruction come along for the ride.
Here's some of the crap they're trying to get away with, as compiled by Natural Resources Defense Council:
Blocking limits on toxic emissions, like mercury, from industrial boilers. Failing to put these restrictions in place would mean signing people's death warrants, says NRDC:
These safeguards are a decade overdue, and putting them in place will deliver major benefits to the nearly 40 million Americans living within three miles of polluting facilities.
But if the rider goes through, it would cause up to 28,350 premature deaths, 150,000 asthma attacks, and nearly 19,000 hospital and emergency room visits over three and a half years – the minimum period of delay being proposed.
Speeding up approval of Keystone XL. The State Department has already told Congress to sit down and shut up, because they won't be bullied into speeding up the Keystone XL approval process. That's on account of John Boehner proposing to make the passage of the payroll tax bill contingent on making Keystone XL a rush job. Thankfully, State Department is having none of it, and says that if you rush it it will TURN THIS CAR AROUND:
"Should Congress impose an arbitrary deadline for the permit decision … the department would be unable to make a determination to issue a permit for this project," the State Department said in a statement.
Undermining attempts to protect waterways. One rider denies the EPA the ability to change or expand which waterways are protected under the Clean Water Act. That would leave a lot of wetlands, small streams, and headwaters without any safeguards. But who needs wetlands and small streams, right? If they were important bodies of water they'd be called GREAT LAKES (which Republicans probably don't want to protect either).
Headwaters and wetlands absorb flood waters, they filter pollutants from contaminated water, they contribute to the drinking water supply of over 117 million Americans, they support fish and waterfowl prized by anglers and hunters, and they feed our iconic rivers and lakes.
Oh, well crap.
And then there's this: An anti-efficient-bulb rider. Light bulb manufacturers are over it — they've started manufacturing more efficient bulbs, and they've barely been tortured by jackbooted thugs at ALL. But Republicans are still convinced that before it starts stealing your children, the government will occupy your light sockets, and they're trying to add an appropriations bill rider that would kill efficiency standards. What's next — a rider saying that the EPA can't regulate farm dust?
President Obama says he'll oppose all these riders, so maybe we can have things like budgets and payroll taxes without having to bargain away our futures.
- GOP's Dim Bulb Obsession Threatens Government Shutdown, ThinkProgress