Earlier this year, a coal power plant operated by Freedom Industries dumped ten thousand gallons of the highly toxic coal-processing chemical MCHM into the Elk River. The pollution left hundreds of thousands of people in West Virginia without drinking water for an extremely long period of time.
So, what has West Virginia’s U.S. Representative Nick Rahall done about the problem?
He wrote H.R. 5078, a bill that seeks to make it easier for coal companies to dump pollution into West Virginia waters. Yesterday, that bill was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.
“I stand with our coal, Rahall said in a triumphant statement celebrating his pro-pollution legislation. Most of the bill’s supporters were Republicans, but Rahall is a Democrat.
Rahall’s infatuation with dirty coal can’t simply be chalked up to his own individual problems, however. The Democratic Party establishment has enabled, and even encouraged, Rahall to promote pollution by coal companies. This year, the House Majority PAC paid for advertisements celebrating Rahall’s work to protect coal companies from reasonable safety and environmental regulations, saying proudly, “Nick Rahall isn’t against coal!”
The House Majority PAC isn’t a fringe player in Democratic Party politics. It’s a central player. The executive director of the PAC is a former campaign director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The operations director is a former Obama campaign staffer, and worked to enforce compliance at the Democratic National Committee. The PAC’s development director was recently Managing Director of Finance and Marketing at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
When Nick Rahall attacks environmental protections in order to serve his friends in Big Coal, he’s got powerful Democratic Party insiders standing right behind him.