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Like Oil and Water

As Congress Considers Legal Immunity for Oil Companies More Communities Go To Court Over MTBE Pollution

April 5, 2005

Like Oil and Water: EWG Letters to NJ, CA Members

EWG Action Fund Asks U.S. Representatives To Take A Stand On MTBE

EWG has sent letters similar to the one below to the following members of Congress who voted in 2003 to protect oil companies from MTBE lawsuits. These Reps represent communities that have subsequently sued those companies over MTBE-contaminated drinking water.

House Members Mike Ferguson (NJ-7), Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (NJ-11), and Scott Garrett (NJ-5).

House Members Wally Herger (CA-2), John T. Doolittle (CA-4), Richard W. Pombo (CA-11), Dennis A. Cardoza (CA-18), Devin Nunes (CA-21), William M. Thomas (CA-22), Elton Gallegly (CA-24), Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (CA-25), Gary G. Miller (CA-42), Ken Calvert (CA-44), Christopher Cox (CA-48).


April 13, 2005

Honorable [NAME]
U.S. House of Representatives
2442 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congressman [NAME]:

At the behest of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, you voted in 2003 for an energy bill that shielded oil companies from accountability for contaminating drinking water supplies across the country with the toxic gasoline additive MTBE.

Since your vote to support the bill, water utilities serving your constituents have gone to court to force oil companies to pay for MTBE cleanup of their drinking water wells. Just a few drops of MTBE, methyl tertiary butyl ether, make water undrinkable. Because it is so foul, water providers remove MTBE before it reaches family faucets — and the question of who should bear those costs again rests in your hands. A 25-year trail of internal industry documents and congressional committee reports shows that oil companies were not forced to adopt MTBE as a gasoline additive. Instead, the companies knew that MTBE would pollute water supplies, but they lobbied the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for permission to use it anyway.

Debate on the full Energy Bill is expected next week, and Mr. DeLay is pushing hard again to protect big oil companies at the expense of the people you represent. A vote for DeLay