For immediate release:
June 25th, 2004
Contact: Bruce Hoeft, Sierra Club
office: (248) 435-5277
cell: (734) 277-3409
Michigan Sierra Club supporters protest Cheney visit to Saginaw
Buena Vista Township, Michigan – Sierra Club volunteers rallied today to tell Vice President Dick Cheney, who spoke at the Duro-Last Roofing Plant, that Bush Administration policies favoring polluting industries over the health of our communities are unacceptable. Analysis of the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week shows that reported toxic pollution increased by 5% for only the second time since the TRI program began in 1987, and that industry reported releasing and disposing of more than a billion pounds of cancer-causing chemicals into the nation’s air, land and water in 2002. The Tri-Cities area continues to suffer from some of the most polluted sites in Michigan.
Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on a Sierra Club lawsuit to force disclosure of the workings of the secret Cheney Energy Task Force. The closed Task Force was composed of Administration and energy industry officials, including Enron, and was used to establish federal energy policy. Vice President Cheney met with Kenneth Lay, the disgraced Enron CEO, at least six times during the period before the Task Force finally made its recommendations. Some of the recommendations appear to be verbatim from industry proposals.
In yesterday’s ruling, the Supreme Court rejected the Administration's argument that it has a constitutional right to keep the workings of the Task Force secret from the public. However, the Court refused to rule on whether Vice President Cheney must produce the documents sought in Sierra Club's suit, and sent the case back to the Court of Appeals.
"The energy policy that eventually came out of those meetings heavily favors the outdated and polluting fossil fuel industries whose representatives appear to have helped draft the policy," said Carl Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, in a statement on the Cheney Energy Task Force. "If the Administration built its energy policy on the recommendations of the likes of Enron, Americans deserve to know about it before it's too late.”
“Vice President Cheney acts like the public has no business asking about the closed-door meetings that shaped the Administration's energy policy,” said Bruce Hoeft, Sierra Club spokesperson at the rally. “Michigan continues to be polluted by the energy industry, the Administration has issued rules that loosen pollution standards, and we want to know why? What are they hiding?”
Protesters carried signs reading “The Bush Administration Protects Polluters, Not People,” “Michigan Deserves Clean Air, Not Dirty Power,” “What Are You Hiding?” and “Protect Workers And The Environment.”