Yesterday, Senator Casey joined 52 of his colleagues, including 5 Republicans, to beat back an irrational attack on clean air.
The vote against a resolution to permanently stop the Environmental Protection Agency from implementing new regulations requiring coal-fired power plants to cut their emissions of mercury and other toxic substances shouldn’t have required courage. Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma is a right-wing extremist doing the bidding of the Koch brothers and the coal industry. He was the architect of the attempt to stop this needed regulation that provides long-overdue protection for public health, especially the health of women and babies. In more reasoned times, this kind of extreme anti-environmental jihad would have been dismissed out of hand. This resolution should never have gotten to the Senate floor.
But these are not reasoned times. Forty-six Senators, including Pennsylvania’s Senator Toomey, voted to rollback protections for women and babies and allow the industry to continue to spew out toxic mercury at will. Climate Progress has a chart showing the amount of campaign contributions these senators received from the electric utility and mining companies.
Senator Casey is up for re-election this year, and that makes the vote all the more important and courageous. His opponent, Tom Smith, is a former coal company owner, and he jumped all over Casey’s vote calling it part of the Obama-Casey war on coal. Casey currently enjoys a 51 to 32 advantage over Smith in recent polls. Fifty-one percent of voters also approve of the job Casey is doing as senator.
But this is June, and November is a long way off. Senator Casey’s vote for clean air will draw the ire of the industry and will open the deep pockets of the Koch brothers who will likely pour campaign dollars into Smith’s campaign. We can expect a slew of negative campaign ads targeting Casey come the autumn. Senator Casey well knew that when he cast his vote.
Pennsylvanians know that Senator Casey works for the public interest and will buck industry when it’s necessary. Every Pennsylvania voter should feel fortunate to have a reasoned, independent member in the Senate.
Let Senator Casey know you appreciate his courage – go to his website and thank him.