District 1 Congressman Ed Whitfield has been the Republican point person in the House this year in their attempt to gut EPA rules seeking to reduce the amount of toxic filth put into our air and water from coal-fired power plants.
And on Fox News Wednesday, when presented with the facts (yes, this was Fox) that mercury is showing up in fish and is a significant danger to fetuses (whom Ed would surely tell you are people), Whitfield went into spin mode:
WHITFIELD: …There are already strict regulations relating to mercury emissions. All of the hearings that we held on utility regulations indicated that overwhelmingly the benefits would come to limiting particulate matter, not mercury at all.
CAMEROTA: As I’m sure you know, for the past few years doctors have been advising pregnant women not to eat any fish when they are pregnant because the mercury levels are so high in fish. So what to do about this? Obviously whatever controls the EPA has in place are not working if our fish are tainted.
WHITFIELD: Well, let me just say this to you, the scientists that testified before our committee were unanimous in the view that there is not going to be any benefit from this new regulation in reducing mercury levels. All of the benefits were calculated from the reduction of particulate matter, which is already covered under ambient air quality standard regulations. This is about closing coal plants, and that’s precisely what it is about.
As Think Progress notes, the statement that “there are already strict regulations relating to mercury emissions” is just a flat out lie. Pure fantasy. Secondly, Whitfield’s statement about the scientists who testified before him is actually true. Why? Because as chair of the committee, Whitfield only chose to listen to people who either run or are paid by coal and utility companies. Funny how that works.
Unfortunately for Whitfield, the new EPA rules announced Wednesday will, for the first time, place strict limits on mercury emissions, cutting them by 90 percent by 2016. Which is great news for all of the fetuses that Whitfield and his colleagues try so hard to save.
And today, Ryan Alessi at cn|2 asks Rep. Whitfield if all of those millions of dollars in campaign donations from energy companies are influencing his ridiculous mercury PR campaign. It’s at 1:30, enjoy the “gosh I don’t even know who gives me money” routine:
How dare anyone suggest that Ed Whitfield is for sale, right?