Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Industry Hacks

Sometimes I wonder how certain people can look at themselves in the mirror in the morning. Take for example, the oompa-loompas that were escorted out of their cages this afternoon to shill for the chemical and mining industry in the Senate Natural Resources Committee hearing.

The committee was hearing testimony on SB 667 by Sen. Shapleigh (D-El Paso). The senator testified that ASARCO, a company that operates lead smelters in the El Paso area, has an $80 million clean-up on its hands. There is a dangerously high concentration of lead in the soil apparently due to its business practices.

Before granting ASARCO a new permit, Shapleigh wants financial proof that Asarco can make good on the clean-up. He also wants the same to apply to other companies that produce waste that may harm the environment, which is the essence of his bill.

Among the oompa-loompas trotted out to oppose the bill was Jon Fisher of the Texas Chemical Council. He said that while he didn't approve of Asarco's behavior, this bill would punish companies that haven't done anything wrong. "Generalizing based on one example isn’t good for public policy," he said when he disagreed with the senator.

Both Sen. Shapleigh and Fisher agreed that the ASARCO case was lamentable and that such contamination should be prevented in the future. Showing off his fluency in double-speak Fisher added, "I agree that lessons learned should be applied forward."

Does that mean the Chem Council will be supporting the bill?

Don't bet on it.