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Environmental Group Takes Reps. Pombo and Bass to Task for Siding with Tom DeLay on MTBE Pollution

Posted Nov. 7, 2008 / Posted by: admin

Dick Bell, 202-222-0742

Sara Zdeb, 202-222-0728


Washington, DC—As Congress continues debating energy legislation, Friends of the Earth is taking Congressmen Richard Pombo (R-CA) and Charlie Bass (R-NH) to task for siding with Republican leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) instead of their constituents whose drinking water is polluted with the gasoline additive MTBE.  In a series of hard-hitting ads, Friends of the Earth denounces Pombo and Bass for voting to let Texas oil companies off the hook for MTBE pollution.   

The full page ads appear in the Tri-Valley Herald, Morgan Hill Times, Concord Monitor, Manchester Union Leader, Keene Sentinel, Nashua Telegraph, Claremont Eagle Times and Lebanon Valley News.  They criticize Pombo and Bass’s recent votes to exempt oil companies from liability for cleaning up MTBE, a possible carcinogen.  DeLay is the measure’s chief proponent.

“Californians and New Hampshire citizens should be asking who Richard Pombo and Charlie Bass really represent—their constituents, or Tom DeLay’s oil industry pals in Texas ?” said Sara Zdeb, Friends of the Earth’s legislative director.

MTBE leaks from underground storage tanks into groundwater, and the foul-smelling chemical has been detected in 144 water systems in California and 280 in New Hampshire . Communities in both states have filed lawsuits to force the oil industry to pay for the cost of cleanup, but the energy bill that Pombo and Bass support renders these lawsuits moot.  The MTBE liability waiver is one of the most controversial measures under consideration in the energy bill.



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