The Waxman amendment to the H.R. 2218, the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act, was simple and, one would think, something everyone could agree on. The amendment merely would add the requirement that the management of coal waste should be conducted in a manner “to protect human health and the environment”. If you’re dealing with coal wastes, the amendment from Representative Henry Waxman said, you can’t do things with it that wreck the landscape, foul the water, or endanger human lives.
Coal waste is dangerous. It contains high amounts of heavy metals that can cause serious illness and block healthy human development.
Nonetheless, for 231 members of Congress, the basic idea of responsible waste management by the coal industry was too much. They voted down the Waxman amendment today, saying that the coal industry shouldn’t have to worry about protecting human health, and can’t afford to do business without spreading pollution.
It wasn’t just Republicans who voted against the Waxman amendment. 8 Democrats crossed the aisle to vote it down. These pro-pollution, anti-health Democrats are: