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Congressional veto power over any further restrictions the EPA might place on future actions of any kind. Gramm also voted with a successful effort to quash $10 million for research into groundwater contamination and acid rain. In 1982, Gramm joined the Reagan administration in going after the Environmental Protection Agency. He helped to dig reductions of 39 percent and 21 percent in EPA research budgets for 1982 and 1983, respectively. Then, in September 1983, he helped block the restoration of $25 million for EPA research into pollution issues. As it turns out, Gramm’s little shovel was digging quite a number of little holes in 1982. He voted for the second time to bar the EPA from enforcing the law on automobile pollution \(the first vote contempt charges against EPA chief apparently made a career out of not enforcing the law. In addition, Gramm took out his little shovel to dig a shelter -for the poor little ol’ toxic. waste operator. First, he sponsored an amendment exempting small handlers of toxic waste from the law. And when that amendment failed, Gramm on the same day joined efforts to protect all hazardous waste generators from being sued under the “common law. That effort also failed, 85-255. Once again in 1983, Gramm voted to exempt small toxic waste operators from federal laws, and once again his side lost. Also in 1983 Gramm sided with those who wanted to preside over -the dismantling of the EPA. “By 1983,” reported the LCV, “nearly a third of the EPA staff had been let go, including key scientific personnel and inspectors of hazardous waste sites. Funding to develop new pollution control techniques had been cut by more than half. These budget cuts came at a time when EPA’s workload had nearly doubled because of new responsibilties brought about by new laws on toxic chemicals and wastes. The House voted to restore EPA funding nearly to pre-Reagan levels, but the effort was killed in the Republican controlled Senate. Gramm, by this time a full-fledged Reagan Republican, took the predictable position. Toxic wastes led the environmental agenda in 1984 as the House passed a Superfund Extension. Gramm voted with unsuccessful efforts to cut revenues for the Superfund, and he voted with successful efforts to prevent Superfund money from being spent on individuals damaged by toxic waste. In related moves, Gramm also voted for the right 10 MARCH 6, 1987 of citizens to sue the government for noncompliance with its own cleanup rules. and he voted to reject the right of citizens to sue toxic waste companies in federal court. In sum, Gramm wanted to allow citizens to sue a program which he was trying to eliminate while at the same time denying those citizens the right to seek direct financial redress either from the government or the toxic waste companies. REGARDING ENERGY policy, environmentalists like to develop alternative sources of “clean” and ”renewable” energy while at the same time working on conservation to reduce the total energy demands. Gramm, on the other. hand, takes the attitude that the more coal and oil we burn the better. In 1980 Gramm helped defeat tax credits for people who install equipment for energy conservation or for solar power, and he voted unsuccessfully to cut $107 million in research for new ‘energy sources. In 1981 Gramm voted for a successsful’ measure to continue a $135 million appropriation for the development of a synthetic fuel made from coal. The estimated cost of the Newman. Kentucky, demonstration plant had risen sevenfold to $4.5 billion, the so-called SRC-1 fuel would yield only 75 percent of the energy available in the original coal, and the breakeven cost of the fuel had risen to $76 per barrel. Once again, in the year of Gramm-Latta, Gramm voted to spend money on a new fuel that would be less efficient and more costly than either coal or oil. Meanwhile, Gramm voted to make things easier for coal slurry pipelines. “Coal slurry pipelines would mix crushed western coal with vast quantities of water \(about 300 gallons per ton of as many as 1500 miles away in the Midwest and the East,” reported the LCV. It was a waste of water and a creator of dangerous chemicals. Gramm voted to buy in, but the House didn’t go along. Not only was Gramm voting for big ticket energy at high consumer costs, he was also opposing efforts to help poor people reduce their energy bills. In two votes taken in 1984, Gramm voted first to cut a weatherization program from $500 million to $200 million, then he voted to kill the program altogether. The program was finally authorized at $191 million. Assessing the wisdom of weatherization, the LCV wrote, “Weatherizing the 13 million remaining eligible households under this bill would cut their energy consumption by 30 percent, conserve 65 million barrels of oil or other fuel, and reduce fuel costs by $3.3 billion.” In his opposition to weatherization, Gramm appeared once again to be fighting free lunches for free riders, but in fact he was deciding which group of free riders he wanted to help the poor who might be able to put some of the money spent on utilities to other uses, or the energy companies who were selling $3.3 billion dollars worth of fuel to people who may not have needed it if they had weatherization. After all, the LCV reported, the government was paying $2 billion per year to help poor people pay their utility bills. And none of that money was going to the poor people, but rather to the utility companies and energy companies who provide the utilities and the fuel. And remember how the free-market types used to say that investors take the risks, so they ought to reap the rewards? Not any more. Since 1983, investors in utilities have been passing along to consumers 50 percent of their costs for new power plants and, consequently, 50 percent of their risk. Consumers can thank the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for instituting this privilege and Phil Gramm for his efforts in Congress to uphold this FERC’ed provision. The question remains to be asked if utility investors are now giving up 50 percent of the returns on the total utility investment. Have we put enough meat on the bones yet? Has Gramm’s extreme antienvironmental profile been fully fleshed out in its blubbering corpulence? Actually, no. There is still more. There is another story to be told about Gramm’s nuclear record and how he made sure states would not have the right to veto a federal nuclear dump site. There is the history of his attempts to dismantle safety in mining operations. And there is the continuing battle against the Superfund and the victims of toxic waste. And there is still more. Gramm votes to let the Energy Mobilization Board abuse the environment. Gramm votes to gut the Department of the Interior. Gramm votes to market dangerous infant formulas to Third World mothers. And so on. Gramm votes and Gramm votes. And the more Gramm votes the more our environment loses to the interests of big oil, big coal, big pollution and big bucks. It’s a tall Texas tale, all right, as scandalous as the state is large. Come March 17, the LCV is going to tell us how Gramm used his bigger shovel in the Senate. As for me, I know how Gramm can put that big shovel to good use, because some day Phil Gramm may need a big hole to hide in.