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David Perdue has a long record of opposing protections for clean water, especially the Clean Water Rule, aka the Waters of the United States rule adopted in 2015 to keep our drinking water and other bodies of water safe.
Perdue pushed President Trump to get rid of the Clean Water Rule and Trump eventually credited Perdue with having “helped lead the effort”.
Perdue’s push to upend the rule resulted in two campaign donors being rewarded with a controversial mining permit in Georgia.
While the Trump administration worked to undermine the Clean Water Rule, Perdue was working with his donors, executives at Twin Pines Minerals, on their permit to mine near the Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge.
The permit application was under intense scrutiny from the Army Corps of Engineers because it potentially would violate the existing Clean Water Rule by damaging the fragile ecosystem. Perdue’s office received monthly updates on the status of the permit application.
Local and national groups warned the Twin Pine’s mine could “substantially degrade” the more than 400,000-acre protected area and over 20,000 comments were filed on the Twin Pines’ permit application.
After the Clean Water Rule was eliminated, the Army Corps of Engineers decided it no longer had legal jurisdiction over the Twin Pines project, and a federal permit was no longer needed.
Twin Pines has no record of lobbying the federal government prior to needing the permit but in the last two years has spent $325,000 on lobbying.
Steven Ingle, the president of Twin Pines, has no record of donating to a federal election campaign until 2020, when he made the maximum contribution allowed to Sen. Perdue’s campaign.
Since 2015, Perdue has vocally opposed clean water protections under the Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rules.
- Perdue has repeatedly opposed the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers’ Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rules, voting to block their implementation and to void protections afforded under the rules.
- Perdue slammed the protections as “nothing short of blatant government overreach” and “ridiculous.”
- Perdue complained the rule would impact nearly 3,000 miles of road, 1,500 miles of streams, and 1,400 miles of drainage in Georgia’s Gwinnett County.
- In 2019, testing carried out by the Environmental Working Group found pollutants in Gwinnett County’s water supply that have been linked to health issues including cancer and nerve damage.
- In May 2015, Perdue co-sponsored legislation to halt the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) implementation of the clean water regulations.
Perdue Pushed Donald Trump To Roll Back Clean Water Protections.
- Before Trump’s 2017 inauguration, David Perdue met with Trump to discuss his first 100-day agenda and was publicly calling for that agenda to start with repealing the Waters of the U.S. rule.
- Perdue repeatedly praised President Trump’s attacks on WOTUS and his administration’s push to roll back the Obama-era protections. Perdue called the repeal of WOTUS protections a “huge win.”
- Trump eventually credited Perdue with having “helped lead the effort” to repeal WOTUS.
Repeal of the WOTUS rule benefitted executives of a mining company who gave big contributions to Perdue’s campaign and have a record of pollution problems.
- In March of 2019, executives from Twin Pines Minerals gave the maximum allowable contributions to Perdue’s re-election campaign.
- In July of 2019, Twin Pines Minerals sought a permit to mine the Trail Ridge area near the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge for titanium.
- Local and national groups warned could “substantially degrade” the more than 400,000-acre protected area and over 20,000 comments were filed on Twin Pines’ permit application.
- Another company managed by the same executives, Georgia Renewable Power was recently fined twice by state regulators over wastewater discharges.
- Twin Pines Minerals hired two lobbying firms and met with Senator Perdue and his staff to make their case.
- Perdue’s office was getting monthly updates on the Twin Pines project.
- The rollback of the WOTUS rule was finalized in January of 2020.
- In October of 2020, with the Trump administration’s rollback of clean water protections already completed, the Army Corps of Engineers determined that Twin Pines could move ahead with a revised version of their plan because they no longer required a federal permit under the new rules.
Perdue has a long record of opposing other protections for clean water
- In 2017, Perdue voted to block the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Stream Protection Rule, which protected 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forest.
- According to the League of Conservation Voters, the legislation, H.J. Res. 38, threatened “the drinking water and public health of communities living near coal mining operations” by permanently blocking the clean water protections.
- The Stream Protection Rule set commonsense requirements for coal mining to better protect groundwater, surface water, and ecosystems from toxic coal mining waste, which has been linked to increased rates of cancer, birth defects, and other health problems.
- In a committee markup of a defense authorization bill, Perdue voted to block a provision that would have forced the Department of Defense to take action to clean up cancer-causing PFAS chemicals that have been found on 401 active and former bases.
- While voting against clean water protections, Perdue has given passes to polluters.
- In 2015, Perdue voted against legislation to close the so-called ‘Halliburton Loophole’ in the 2005 Energy Policy Act that exempted fracking from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
- In 2015, Perdue voted against legislation to close a loophole exempting tar sands producers from paying into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund pays for environmental cleanup resulting from oil spills in cases where the party responsible is unknown.
- In 2016, Perdue voted against establishing a water conservation program for the Colorado River System.
- In 2018, Perdue voted for an amendment to the Coast Guard Reauthorization Act that would have exposed U.S. waterways to invasive species by exempting the shipping industry from requirements under the Clean Water Act.
- The Amendment included the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA), which shifted the EPA’s authority to regulate ballast water to the Coast Guard. VIDA undermined states’ efforts to protect their waterways from pollution and invasive species by enforcing their own ballast water regulations, and exempted ships in certain geographic areas, such as the great lakes, from any regulation
WOTUS/Clean Water Rule Opposition
Note: the “Waters of the United States rule” or “WOTUS” is synonymous with the 2015 “clean water rule” issued by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers
In 2015, Perdue Voted To Block Implementation Of The EPA And Army Corps of Engineers’ Clean Water Rule. [LCV Scorecard, S.1140 Senate Roll Call Vote #295, 11/3/2015]
In 2015, Perdue Voted For S.J. Res. 22, Which Voided The EPA And Army Corps Of Engineers’ Clean Water Rule’s Protections. [LCV Scorecard; S.J. Res. 22 Senate Roll Call Vote #297, 11/4/2015]
- S.J. Res. 22 Was Vetoed By President Obama On January 20, 2016. In a press release from the White House Office of the Press Secretary, Obama wrote: “I am returning herewith without my approval S.J. Res. 22, a resolution that would nullify a rule issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army to clarify the jurisdictional boundaries of the Clean Water Act. […] Because this resolution seeks to block the progress represented by this rule and deny businesses and communities the regulatory certainty and clarity needed to invest in projects that rely on clean water, I cannot support it. I am therefore vetoing this resolution.” [The White House, Veto Message From The President – S.J. 22, 1/19/2016]
In 2015, Perdue Co-Sponsored S.1140 Legislation To Halt The EPA’s Implementation Of The Clean Water Protections. [S.1140, Introduced 4/20/2015; Co-Sponsored 5/5/2015]
In 2016, Perdue Voted For An Amendment To Prohibit The EPA And Army Corps of Engineer’s Implementation Of The Clean Water Rule. [LCV Scorecard; H.R. 2028 SA 3811, Senate Roll Call Vote #57, 4/21/2016]
Since 2015, Purdue Has Vocally Opposed The Obama-Era Waters Of The United States Rule. According to a March 2015 press release from Perdue’s Senate office: “U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today highlighted his opposition to the proposed rule from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that would drastically redefine, which waters are subjected to regulatory requirements under the Clean Water Act.” [Perdue.Senate.Gov, Press Release, 3/24/2015]
Perdue Slammed The Clean Water Protections As “Nothing Short Of Blatant Government Overreach.”According to a March 2015 press release from Perdue’s Senate office: “‘The EPA’s proposed rule is nothing short of blatant government overreach and I have serious concerns about the consequences it could have for Georgia,’ said Senator Perdue. ‘Georgians are fed up with Washington because of burdensome rules and regulations that negatively impact our farmers, small businesses, and private citizens.’” [Perdue.Senate.Gov, Press Release, 3/24/2015]
- Perdue Complained That The Rule Would Impact Nearly 3,000 Miles Of Road, 1,500 Miles Of Streams, And 1,400 Miles Of Drainage In Gwinnett County. According to a March 2015 press release from Perdue’s Senate office: “‘The EPA’s proposed rule is nothing short of blatant government overreach and I have serious concerns about the consequences it could have for Georgia,’ said Senator Perdue. […] ‘We have seen a grassroots effort to defeat this rule because of the negative impact it would have on our communities. For example, in Gwinnett County, nearly 3,000 miles of roads, 1,500 miles of streams, and 1,400 miles of drainage ditches would be impacted.’” [Perdue.Senate.Gov, Press Release, 3/24/2015]
- Testing Carried Out By The Environmental Working Group In 2019 Found Pollutants In Gwinnett County’s Water Supply That Have Been Linked To Health Impairments Including Cancer And Nerve Damage. According to 11Alive News: “The study was done by a nonprofit called Environmental Working Group. The group said it collaborated with scientists and analyzed data from water systems in 50 states. […] In Georgia, the environmental group said it found harmful contaminants in the drinking water in the cities of Atlanta, Marietta, Cartersville and Douglasville. It also claims to have found contaminants in county systems in north Fulton, Cobb, DeKalb, Gwinnett and Paulding counties. The group said it found substances in water that have been linked to cancer, hormonal disruptions, pregnancy problems and damage to the brain and nervous system.” [11Alive News, 10/24/2019]
Praise For Trump’s Attack On Clean Water Protections
In December 2017, David Perdue Met With Donald Trump To Discuss His First 100 Days Agenda. In a statement given to McClatchy, Caroline Vanvick, a spokeswoman for Senator David Perdue said: “As a fellow businessman and outsider himself, Sen. Perdue was invited to Trump Tower to discuss working together to advance President-elect Trump’s 100-day plan in the Senate and changing the direction of our country.” [McClatchy, 12/2/2016]
David Perdue Publicly Called For Trump To Start His First 100 Days Agenda By Repealing The Waters Of The U.S. Rule. In an op-ed published in the Rome News-Tribune, Senator David Perdue said: “President-elect Donald J. Trump’s first 100 days in office are an enormous moment of opportunity to begin turning the page. We need to put patients in charge of their health care choices with a free-market solution that increases access and lowers the overall spiraling costs of health care, which Obamacare did nothing to address. We need to undo the regulatory regime and scale back the power of unelected bureaucrats. Let’s start with the EPA’s onerous Waters of the U.S. Act and Clean Power Plan, things we know are crushing farmers, land owners and small businesses right here in Georgia.” [Rome News-Tribune, 1/1/2017]
In February 2017, Perdue Applauded Trump’s Executive Order To Reverse The WOTUS Rule. According to a February 2020 press release from Perdue’s Senate office: “U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, responded to President Donald J. Trump’s executive order to reverse the Environmental Protection Agency’s ‘Waters of the US’ (WOTUS) rule: ‘President Trump’s action to roll back the EPA’s overreach is a step in the right direction to help Georgia’s farmers and agriculture industry. Overturning President Obama’s harmful WOTUS rule is a resounding victory for our state and for the entire country. The last thing farmers need is more bureaucracy and invasion of private property rights.’” [Perdue.Senate.Gov, Press Release, 2/28/2017]
In June 2017, Perdue Praised The EPA’s Decision To Take Action To Roll Back Clean Water Protections. According to a June 2017 press release from Perdue’s Senate office: “U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and David Perdue (R-GA) praised Tuesday’s announcement by the Trump administration that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will take action to begin rolling back an ill-conceived regulation from the Obama administration known as ‘Waters of the United States.’ […] ‘This is a huge victory for our farmers, businesses, ranchers, and landowners,’ said Senator Perdue. ‘We all finally have a President who is taking our concerns seriously. This Obama-era rule was a blatant overreach from the federal government. Immediately after the rule was announced, Georgians pleaded with the government to not overregulate their land. I worked directly with our Georgia farmers to raise the issue with the federal government. This is just one example of how President Trump and a Republican-led Congress are reversing the onerous regulations that have sucked the life out of our free-enterprise system.’” [Perdue.Senate.Gov, Press Release, 6/28/2017]
In 2018, Perdue Lauded The Trump Administration’s Repeal Of EPA and Army Corps Of Engineers Water Protections As A “Huge Win.” According to a December 2018 press release from Perdue’s Senate office: “U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA), member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, comments on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineer’s new proposal to reduce federal regulations on water resources and replace President Obama’s overreaching Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule: ‘This is a huge win for farmers, businesses, ranchers, and landowners in Georgia and across the country,’ said Senator Perdue.” [Senate.Perdue.Gov, Press Release, 12/11/2018]
- Perdue Said Trump’s Rollback Of Water Protections Would “Get Washington Out Of The Way And End Years Of Uncertainty.” According to a December 2018 press release from Perdue’s Senate office: “U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA), member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, comments on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineer’s new proposal to reduce federal regulations on water resources and replace President Obama’s overreaching Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule: […] ‘President Trump knows the last thing farmers need is more bureaucracy and invasion of their privacy rights. The EPA’s new rule will get Washington out of the way and end years of uncertainty by simply defining where water regulations apply and where they do not.’” [Senate.Perdue.Gov, Press Release, 12/11/2018]
- Perdue Said The Decision To Rescind The Clean Water Regulations Was “A Welcome Change From The Blatant Overreach” Of The “Ridiculous” Obama-Era Rule. According to a December 2018 press release from Perdue’s Senate office: “U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA), member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, comments on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineer’s new proposal to reduce federal regulations on water resources and replace President Obama’s overreaching Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule: […] ‘President Trump knows the last thing farmers need is more bureaucracy and invasion of their privacy rights. The EPA’s new rule will get Washington out of the way and end years of uncertainty by simply defining where water regulations apply and where they do not. This is a welcome change from the blatant overreach of President Obama’s ridiculous WOTUS rule.’” [Senate.Perdue.Gov, Press Release, 12/11/2018]
Trump Credits Perdue For Leading Effort Against WOTUS
Donald Trump Credited David Perdue With Having Lead The Effort To Repeal The Waters Of The United States Rule. At a campaign rally for David Perdue, Donald Trump said: “He fought to pass the largest package, David, of tax cuts and reforms in American history. He helped lead the effort to repeal a record number of job killing regulations, the likes of which you’ve never seen, including the unfair Waters of the United States Rule that crippled work for our farmers and our builders. It’s such a beautiful name, but it was destroying people and I’ll never… Waters of the United… How beautiful is that? Waters of the United States. And I said, ‘I got to get rid of it. I got to do it, but I’m going to get killed.’ Because the only thing good about it was the title. Waters. ‘What are you doing today? I’m terminating waters of the United States.’” [Donald Trump remarks at a rally in Valdosta, GA, 12/5/2020]
Impact On Plans For Twin Pines Minerals
March 2019: Twin Pines Minerals Executives Gave The Maximum Allowable Contributions To David Perdue’s Re-Election Campaign. On November 25, 2020, the Washington Post reported “[Twin Pines Minerals President Steven] Ingle and another executive, Raymon Bean, have made the maximum allowable contributions to Perdue’s primary and general senatorial campaigns and have met with the senator and his staff to make their case.” According to FEC records, Steven R Ingle and Raymon Bean contributed $5,600 each (with $2,800 each designated towards for the primary election and $2,800 each designated for the general election) to the Perdue for Senate committee on March 31, 2019 [Washington Post, 11/25/2020; FEC.gov]
July 2019: Twin Pines Minerals Sought A Permit To Mine For Titanium Near The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. In July of 2019, the Savannah Morning News reported: “A company is seeking permits to mine minerals near the edge of the Okefenokee Swamp, a vast untamed wilderness that’s home to the largest national wildlife refuge in the eastern U.S. The proposal comes 20 years after chemical giant DuPont abandoned plans to mine outside the Okefenokee amid staunch opposition from environmentalists and the administration of then-President Bill Clinton. Critics feared irreparable harm to the swamp’s fragile ecosystem that serves as habitat to alligators, bald eagles and other protected species. Now Twin Pines Minerals LLC of Birmingham, Alabama, wants federal and state permits to mine titanium dioxide less than 4 miles from the southeastern boundary of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, according to records filed Friday by the Army Corps of Engineers.” [Savannah Morning News, 7/17/2019]
- Environmental Groups Opposed Twin Pines’ Permit Application, Raising Concerns That The Min Would “Substantially Degrade” The Okefenokee Swamp. The Southern Environmental Law Center, along with Defenders of Wildlife filed a letter in opposition to Twin Pines Mineral’s permit application with the Army Corps of Engineers, saying: “Twin Pines has failed to provide critical information to the public, and the information it has provided raises serious concerns that the proposed mine would substantially degrade the Okefenokee Swamp and surrounding ecosystems. Unless Twin Pines can prove that the proposed mine would not have an unacceptable impact—which it has not done—the Corps may not grant a Section 404 permit. Therefore, the Corps should deny the permit application or, at a minimum, prepare an EIS to ensure that the very real risks to one of the world’s most exceptional ecosystems are not overlooked.” [Southern Environmental Law Center, 9/12/2019]
- Over 20,000 Comments Were Filed In Opposition To The Twin Pines Permit. According to the Southern Environmental Law Center, “Over 20,000 local, regional, and national organizations and individuals have written comments urging the Corps to deny Twin Pines’ permit.” [Southern Environmental Law Center, 9/12/2019]
- Opponents Of The Twin Pines Minerals Project Raised Concerns About The Pollution Record Of Georgia Renewable Power, Managed By Twin Pines Executives. On November 25, 2020, the Washington Post reported “Ingle and another executive, Raymon Bean, have made the maximum allowable contributions to Perdue’s primary and general senatorial campaigns and have met with the senator and his staff to make their case. That worries opponents, who say the environmental record of another company managed by Bean has a checkered history. Georgia Renewable Power, which is owned by a company where Ingle has served as an officer, operates wood-fired power plants in two rural Georgia counties. It has paid tens of thousands of dollars in fines after multiple air and water pollution violations. Residents have complained about ash dumping, fish kills and the burning of railroad ties containing toxic creosote, or coal tar.” [Washington Post, 11/25/2020]
- Georgia Renewable Power Was Fined Almost $65K Over Water Pollution Violations In 2020. According to records from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, on September 8, 2020, Georgia Renewable Power’s Franklin Renewable Energy Facility entered a settlement to pay $48,107 over runoff from a wood chip fuel pile that resulted in a fish kill in Indian Creek. On Jun 18, 2020, Georgia Renewable Power’s Madison Renewable Energy Facility entered a settlement to pay $16,8000 over discharge of compressor oil. [Georgia Environmental Protection Division Enforcement Order EPD-WP-8973; Georgia Environmental Protection Division Enforcement Order EPD-WP-8932]
August-September 2019: Twin Pines Minerals Took On Federal Lobbying Firms For The First Time In The Summer Of 2019 And Paid Them At Least $325,000. According to lobbying disclosure reports filed with the Senate Office of Public Records, Twin Pines Minerals was first registered as a lobbying client of the firm Potomac South LLC on August 29, 2019. Twin Pines Minerals was also registered as a client of Cornerstone Government Affairs Inc on September 17, 2019. Both firms disclosed payments from Twin Pines Minerals for lobbying work in each quarterly perdiod since their initial registration, with payments totalling $325,000. [Senate Office of Public Records, accessed 12/18/2020]
Perdue’s Office Received Monthly Updates From The Army Corps Of Engineers On The Twin Pines Minerals Permit Application. In October of 2020, the Savannah Morning News reported: “The Corps has been providing monthly updates on the Twin Pines’ project to staffers of Georgia Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, both Republicans. The last such update, via telephone, was Oct. 7, just a week before the Corps determined no wetlands were involved in the plan. The next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 4, according to internal correspondence provided by the Corps. Perdue spokeswoman Jenni Sweat said such meetings aren’t unusual.” [Savannah Morning News, 10/23/2020]
January 2020: WOTUS/Clean Water Rule Rollback Was Finalized On January 23, 2020. In January of 2020, the New York Times reported: “The Trump administration on Thursday finalized a rule to strip away environmental protections for streams, wetlands and groundwater, handing a victory to farmers, fossil fuel producers and real estate developers who said Obama-era rules had shackled them with onerous and unnecessary burdens. From Day 1 of his administration, President Trump vowed to repeal President Barack Obama’s ‘Waters of the United States’ regulation, which had frustrated rural landowners. His new rule, which will be implemented in about 60 days, is the latest step in the Trump administration’s push to repeal or weaken nearly 100 environmental rules and laws, loosening or eliminating rules on climate change, clean air, chemical pollution, coal mining, oil drilling and endangered species protections.” [New York Times, 1/22/2020]
October 2020: With Clean Water Act Protections Stripped, Twin Pines Minerals No Longer Needed A Federal Permit For Their Planned Mine. In October of 2020, the Savannah Morning News reported: “Plans to mine near the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge got a boost earlier this week when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers took another look at the proposed mining site and decided it didn’t include about 400 acres of wetlands after all. The land itself hadn’t changed in the year or so since the corps first mapped out the swampy areas, but the definition of a wetland did. The Trump administration’s final ‘Navigable Waters Protection Rule’ went into effect in June, removing or reducing Clean Water Act protections from millions of miles of streams and acres of wetlands nationwide. Removal of those protections means Alabama-based Twin Pines Minerals now needs only state approval, not federal, to mine for titanium and other minerals on land less than four miles from the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. Environmental groups oppose the plan, first announced in 2019, saying it risks harming the refuge, one of the world’s largest intact freshwater ecosystems.” [Savannah Morning News, 10/23/2020]
Purdue’s Record Of Opposing Other Clean Water Protections
Stream Protection Rule Opposition
In 2017, Perdue Voted For H.J. Res. 38 Language To Block The U.S. Department Of The Interior’s Stream Protection Rule. [LCV Scorecard; H.J.Res. 38 Senate Vote #43, 2/2/2017]
The Legislation, H.J. Res. 38, Threatened The Drinking Water And Public Health Of Communities Living Near Coal Mining Operations By Permanently Blocking The Clean Water Protections. According to LCV: “ Representative Bill Johnson (R-OH) sponsored H.J. Res. 38, the Congressional Review Act “Resolution of Disapproval” of the Stream Protection Rule, which would threaten the drinking water and public health of communities living near coal mining operations by permanently blocking the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Stream Protection Rule.” [LCV Scorecard, Accessed 12/17/2020]
The Stream Protection Rule Set Requirements For The Coal Mining Industry To Better Protect Water From Toxic Waste Linked To Health Defects. According to LCV: “This important rule set commonsense requirements for coal mining to better protect ground water, surface water, and ecosystems from toxic coal mining waste, which has been linked to increased rates of cancer, birth defects, and other health problems in nearby communities.” [LCV Scorecard, Accessed 12/17/2020]
6,000 Miles Of Streams And 52,000 Acres Of Forest Were Protected Under The Rule. According to LCV: “The rule protects 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forests, set up new requirements for water quality monitoring and restoration, and generally compels coal mining companies to reduce their impact on the surrounding environment.” [LCV Scorecard, Accessed 12/17/2020]
David Perdue Voted Against Forcing The Department Of Defense To Clean Up PFAS Chemicals. In a markup of a Department of Defense authorization bill, David Perdue voted against a motion “to include a provision to require action by the Department of Defense with respect to the release of perfluoroalkyl substances and polyfluoroalkyl substances by the Department.” [Senate Committee on Armed Services report 116-236 on S.4049, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2021 (Page 622)]
PFAS Chemicals Were Linked To Kidney And Testicular Cancer, Hypertension, And Other Diseases. In January of 2019, Politico reported: “The chemicals, known as PFOA and PFOS, have been linked to kidney and testicular cancer, hypertension and other ailments. Major chemical companies like 3M as well as the Defense Department would face billions of dollars in liability from aggressive efforts to regulate and clean up the chemical, which has contaminated groundwater near hundreds of military bases and chemical plants.” [Politico, 1/28/2019]
PFAS Chemicals Have Been Found On Military Bases And Surrounding Communities, Including 401 Active And Former Bases. In December of 2019, NBC News reported: “PFAS is a family of chemicals defined by the presence of one or several carbon-flourine bonds, the strongest chemical bond in nature. The chemicals, which have a unique ability to repel water, grease and other substances, have been used in a variety of products since the 1940s, including Teflon cookware and Scotchgard. They are also a key ingredient in firefighting foam, used by the DOD since at least the 1970s. That foam is the suspected source of PFAS contamination discovered on bases and surrounding communities, including at least 401 sites on active and former bases where the chemicals were released or a suspected discharge occurred. The military has launched an effort to clean up the contamination — a task expected to cost about $2 billion.” [NBC News, 12/16/2019]
Votes To Protect Polluters
In 2015, Perdue Voted Against S.1 Admt. 48, Which Would Have Closed A Loophole Exempting Fracking From Regulation Under The Safe Drinking Water Act. [LCV Scorecard; S.1 SA 48; Senate Roll Call Vote #41, 1/28/2015]
- Under The So-Called ‘Halliburton Loophole’ Of The 2005 Energy Policy Act, Fracking Was Exempted From Regulation Under The Safe Water Drinking Act. According to LCV, “Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) offered an amendment to S.1, the Keystone XL Pipeline Act, which would close the ‘Halliburton Loophole,’ a provision in the 2005 Energy Policy Act that exempted hydraulic fracturing (fracking) from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act.” [LCV Scorecard, Accessed 12/17/2020]
In 2015, Perdue Voted Against Legislation To Close A Loophole Exempting Tar Sands Producers From Paying Into The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. [LCV Scorecard; S.1 Senate Roll Call Vote #19, 1/22/2015]
- The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund Pays For Environmental Cleanup Resulting From Oil Spills In Cases Where The Party Responsible Is Unknown. According to the EPA: “Under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the owner or operator of a facility from which oil is discharged (responsible party) is liable for the costs associated with the: containment, cleanup, and damages resulting from the spill. EPA’s first priority is to ensure that responsible parties pay to clean up their own oil releases. However, when the responsible party is unknown or refuses to pay, funds from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund can be used to cover the cost of removal or damages.” [EPA.Gov, Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, Accessed 12/17/2020]
- Money For The Fund Is Generated Predominantly From A Five-Cents Per Barrel Fee On Domestic And Imported Oil. According to the EPA: “The primary source of revenue for the fund is a five-cents per barrel fee on imported and domestic oil. Collection of this fee ceased on December 31, 1994, due to a ‘sunset’ provision in the law. Other revenue sources for the fund include: interest on the fund, cost recovery from the parties responsible for the spills, and any fines or civil penalties collected.” [EPA.Gov, Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, Accessed 12/17/2020]
Other Votes Against Clean Water
In 2016, Perdue Voted Against Establishing A Water Conservation Program For The Colorado River System. [LCV Scorecard; H.R. 2028 SA 3805, Senate Roll Call Vote #62, 4/26/2016]
In 2018, Perdue Voted For An Amendment To Expose U.S. Waterways To Invasive Species By Exempting The Shipping Industry From Requirements Under The Clean Water Act. [LCV Scorecard; S.140 Senate Roll Call Vote #77, 4/18/2018]
- The Amendment Included The Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA), Which Shifted The EPA’s Authority To Regulate Ballast Water To The Coast Guard. According to LCV: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) offered S. 1129, the Coast Guard Reauthorization Act, as an amendment to S. 140, the Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Reauthorization Act. This amendment included the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA), which would leave our waters more vulnerable to aquatic invasive species by exempting the shipping industry from requirements under the Clean Water Act in favor of a new, weaker regulatory scheme. By shifting the EPA’s authority to regulate ballast water to the Coast Guard, VIDA would set a dangerous precedent for transferring authority to agencies that are ill-equipped to handle the responsibility.” [LCV Scorecard, Accessed 12/17/2020]
- VIDA Undermined States’ Efforts To Protect Their Waterways From Pollution And Invasive Species By Enforcing Their Own Ballast Water Regulations. According to LCV: “In addition, VIDA would pre-empt the states’ capacity to enact and enforce their own ballast water rules, undermining their ability to protect their waterways from pollution and invasive species.”[LCV Scorecard, Accessed 12/17/2020]
- VIDA Also Exempted Ships In Certain Geographic Areas, Such As The Great Lakes, From Any Regulation. According to LCV: “Lastly, VIDA would exempt ships in geographically restricted areas — such as the Great Lakes — from any regulation, further jeopardizing some of our most iconic water bodies.” [LCV Scorecard, Accessed 12/17/2020]