Thursday, June 08, 2006

Sweeney, GE and Toxic Homes

John Sweeney (R-NY) was given a D for his record on PCBs being removed from the Hudson River:

As the congressional representative of the cleanup zone, Congressman Sweeney has not been playing a helpful or unifying role. Offered a seat on the Governor's Task Force, Sweeney has failed to attend, or even send a representative. (source)

GE lobbied against the clean up:

The company, which has argued that the river is cleaning itself naturally and widespread dredging would cause huge disruption with little benefit, spent millions of dollars on a public relations blitz and top-notch lobbyists to defeat the plan. The company's outspoken chief executive, John F. Welch, personally lobbied Environmental Administrator Christie Whitman.

Sweeney stood with the lobbyists instead of working to inform residents about the real threats of doing nothing to clean up the waste. Sweeney had this to say:

"The EPA and Administrator Whitman have turned a blind eye and a deaf ear on the people of the Upper Hudson River region." (source)

Today, homeowners are facing falling property values and local town boards are losing income on property assessments due to toxic waste in homes near GE. Read today's Post Star story "What is the Value of a Toxic Home? Contamination prompts requests for reassessments."

Instead of working to clean up the river safely, instead of seeking to remove toxic waste, instead of looking into the real economic impact that the $460 million project would have on the district, instead of thinking of the residents whose home values have dropped and who can't sue GE or pay their mortgage, John Sweeney sided with lobbyists.

Now Sweeney sends out mailers to residents here claiming he hasn't forgotten his roots or who he is fighting for.

It seems to me that he is always fighting for corporations. Especially those that fund his campaign, in 1999/2000 alone GE's PAC gave $7,500. In 2001/2, they gave him over $11,000, and it goes on.

It's time for someone else. Someone who knows that the constitution says "We, the people" not "We, the lobbyists" or "We, the CEOs."

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