Over the last 25 years some of the most basic environmental and consumer protection
laws were enacted. Intended to clean the nation's waterways, rid the air we breathe
of toxins, and protect consumers from unfair bank fees and untruthful advertising,
these laws have drastically improved the quality of life of every American. However,
we still have a long way to go.
[ Scorecard Home ]
THE ROLLBACK CONGRESS CONTINUES
Environment, Public Health and Consumers Still at Risk
- More than 40,000 premature deaths are estimated to occur each year due to particulate
- Each day 5,000 children start smoking, and each year 434,000 Americans die from
tobacco-related causes, 50,000 of which are nonsmokers.
- The bank fees that consumers pay went up at twice the rate of inflation from 1993
to 1995, while banks made record profits.
- By the year 2000, up to 100 species per day will become extinct.
The 104th Congress
Ignoring facts like these, the 104th Congress was the most hostile Congress of the
last quarter century when it came to protecting the environment, ensuring public
health, and standing up for consumers.
The 104th Congress' actions were a litany of attacks on the air we breathe, on the
water we drink, and on our pocketbooks. Just a few of the misdeeds include:
- In May, 1995 the House of Representatives passed the "Dirty Water Act" that would
allow polluters to discharge more toxic chemicals into our waterways, weaken
enforcement, and eliminate protections for up to 80% of our remaining wetlands.
- In March, 1996 the House and Senate voted to weaken the rights of victims of
defective products to be compensated by manufacturers of dangerous products and
repeal pro-consumer state laws.
- In February, 1996 the House voted to continue to let the sugar industry reap an
extra $1.4 billion a year from U.S. consumers, while continuing to disrupt water
flow and dump pollutants into the fragile Everglades.
Stopping the Rollbacks in the 105th Congress
While U.S. PIRG and its allies stopped most of the attacks on the environment and
consumers in the last Congress, special interests and their PACs have invested record
sums to retain their influence in the new Congress.
Nearly all the leaders of the rollback 104th Congress have retained their leadership
positions, giving anti-environment and anti-consumer special interests important
friends in high places. While more likely to do their dirty work behind the scenes,
special interests continue to keep up their assault in the 105th Congress. Already
in the first few months of this new Congress there have been attacks have been
attacks on the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and Superfund.
U.S. PIRG and the state PIRGs will continue to challenge this sustained attack on
the environment and consumers. Our staff of researchers, policy advocates and
organizers will work with PIRG members and other citizens across the country to
stop the rollback by:
U.S. PIRG will continue its work to inform and energize millions of citizens take
action against the rollbacks. Giving citizens the information they need, like this
scorecard, is one key way people will make the difference on Capitol Hill and stop
the rollback of the nation's environmental, public health, and consumer laws.
- Releasing reports and studies documenting environmental and public health problems,
consumer rip-offs, and special interest campaign contributions to Congress.
- Delivering hundreds of thousands of postcards to Congress and the President from
citizens asking that the environment not be put on the chopping block.
Copyright © 1997 Public Interest Research Groups
Updated 3 Jun 1997 firstname.lastname@example.org