Letter: Whose side is McHenry on?

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I live in the beautiful mountains of Asheville, and as a constituent of Rep. Patrick McHenry’s district, I ask you, before you go to the ballot box, whose side is he really on?

His records show consistent support for extreme legislation and nullifying of standards that have been put in place to protect the environment and our public health and safety. He has attacked clean air and other public protections by allowing fracking loopholes (HR 4775) and blocking protections for methane pollution, which has serious danger to people’s health (HB 5538). He has undermined public lands and wildlife management, as well as international commitments to combat ivory trafficking.

Among several of his most egregious votes against the people of his own constituency, Rep. McHenry supported a disastrous bill (HR 1644) that would block proposed safeguards to reduce the health and environmental impacts of destructive coal-mining practices and would stop or at least seriously delay protection of coal-mining communities whose drinking water is currently at risk of contamination from inappropriate dumping of toxic mining pollution.

“As one of the most damaging industrial activities in our nation, mountaintop-removal mining has destroyed more than 2,000 miles of streams and over 500 mountains in central Appalachia, while also jeopardizing the health of nearby communities,” [according to the League of Conservation Voters]. With HB 1734, he voted to permanently categorize coal ash as nonhazardous waste! While “every year, more than 140 million tons of coal ash — the toxic byproduct of burning coal that is laden with arsenic, lead and other heavy metals — are stored in more than 1,000 impoundments across the country, many which have leached dangerous chemicals into water Americans count on,” [according to the League of Conservation Voters]. Coal-ash impoundments have failed catastrophically, as exemplified by … [the storm pipe failure] that spilled more than 24 million gallons of waste into the Dan River in North Carolina. The bill, which he supported (HB 5538), would allow for the continued operation and construction of these impoundments. His support of this bill falls woefully short of preventing serious harm to our communities.

As if that weren’t enough, he has attacked scientific integrity by [supporting] … the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act, which would permanently undermine the ability of the EPA’s Science Advisory Board to provide independent scientific advice to the agency.

So, before you vote, please  ask yourselves, whose side is Rep. McHenry really on?

—  Renee Dankert


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