Congressional Action: MTBE

On July 28, speaking on the floor of the House, Rep. Joe Pitts blamed Congress for MTBE contamination:

Mr. Speaker, I am going to support the energy bill later today, but I am amazed that Democrats in this town have convinced the majority party that law-abiding citizens must clean up Congress’s mess.When Congress mandated use of cleaner-burning gas, MTBE was the only way companies could obey its orders. Upon learning MTBE was linked to environmental concerns, Congress did not accept responsibility, change the policy, or invest in alternatives. Congress told the companies to clean up the mess themselves. Trial lawyers loved it. Congress’s inaction signaled that obeying law warrants a lawsuit. Now they sue anyone who might have even had a thought of using MTBE.

Mr. Speaker, these companies did not cover up bad data. They did not set out to save money by cutting corners. They did not even choose to use MTBE over a cleaner alternative. Congress made them do it.

The Democrats’ own energy chairman in 1990 admits that. He says MTBE “was the only commercially viable alternative at the time.”

Note: “Congressional Action” is a blog feature highlighting an official activity undertaken by or in Congress, very often chosen at random, to provide an educational snapshot of our Congress at work. Opinions and facts represented in this feature do not necessarily represent the views of Amy Ridenour or The National Center for Public Policy Research, nor is this feature intended to express an opinion on any measure under consideration by the Congress.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.