Political briefs

BROWN, BLUMENTHAL AND DEMOCRATIC SENATE COLLEAGUES ISSUE JOINT STATEMENT ON U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE’S GLOBAL LOBBYING FOR BIG TOBACCO – Today, U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Al Franken (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) issued the following statement on recent reports regarding the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s global lobbying to advance interests of Big Tobacco:

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s decision to use its international clout to fight regulations of tobacco products around the world is craven and unconscionable. Commerce member companies should be concerned that their good name is sullied in efforts to strike down public health protections worldwide. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is, in effect, renting its letterhead and name to big tobacco, contrary to responsible corporate interests and Americans’ interests in improving global public health. We urge the chamber to rethink this strategy and instead find partners to help improve global public health, not strengthen efforts that will worsen the health of millions globally and cause innumerable deaths from tobacco usage.”

PORTMAN TALKS ABOUT WASTEFUL SPENDING – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) today released the latest example in a monthly series highlighting Washington’s wasteful spending:

Those planning to break out the burgers and brats for our nation’s upcoming 4th of July celebration are probably not concerned about “particulate matter emissions.” But that hasn’t stopped the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from wasting taxpayer dollars.

According to an announcement by the EPA, the federal government has decided to use $15,000 of taxpayer money to fund a project designed to decrease “particulate matter emissions” from backyard grilling. Worried about minimizing the barbecue grease that might come into contact with an open flame, the project seeks to protect barbecue pit masters everywhere from the “health hazards” they might face.

Along with a specially designed drip tray, the emission removal system proposed by the study includes the use of a “secondary air filtration system is composed of a single pipe duct system which contains a specialized metal filter, a metal fan blade, a drive shaft, and an accompanying power system with either a motorized or manual method.” While this study was intended to reduce air pollution and health hazards in “Southern California,” it noted there was “potential for global application” as well.

“Ohioans celebrating our nation’s independence this 4th of July should be able to grill in peace,” said Portman. “The EPA doesn’t need to use taxpayer dollars to tell us how to safely grill a cheeseburger. I support a clean environment, and the EPA has more important things to do instead of meddling in American past times.”