FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact: Ralph Nader or Mark Wittink, (202)-387-8034
Congress is close to passing the energy bill. Behind closed doors, corporations, lobbyists, and leadership in both houses are debating a key provision that would shield the producers of MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether) from any legal claims that the chemical is “defective in design or manufacture.”
To limit polluter liability would be one of the bigger corporate bailouts in American history and a staggering rollback of the “polluters pays” laws that have cleaned up contamination hazards in every state.
MTBE is a significant threat to the groundwaters that supply half the nation’s drinking water. Because it is highly water soluble, MTBE travels extraordinarily quickly through underground aquifers. Cleanup of MTBE contamination is difficult and expensive.
The Clean Air Act lists MTBE as a hazardous air pollutant. According to EPA, MTBE “cause[s] or may cause cancer or other serious health effects, such as reproductive effects or birth defects, or adverse environmental and ecological effects.”
The proposed MTBE immunity would shift the financial burden for cleanup from corporations to taxpayers and ratepayers who will bear the costly burden of removing MTBE from their drinking water.
Nader asks, in a letter to the Congressional conferees, that our members of Congress “do the right thing” and eliminate this polluter protection from the energy bill.
The full text of the letter is available at: http://www.nader.org/releases/mtbe.html