What: All Issues : Environment : Clean Water/Water Conservation : H.R. 6. Energy/Vote on Amendment to Remove from Energy Bill Provision Shielding Manufacturers of Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MBTE) from Product Liability Lawsuits.
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H.R. 6. Energy/Vote on Amendment to Remove from Energy Bill Provision Shielding Manufacturers of Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MBTE) from Product Liability Lawsuits.
house Roll Call 129     Apr 21, 2005
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

In this vote, the House defeated an amendment offered by Lois Capps (D-CA) to H.R. 6, The Energy Policy Act of 2005, that would have removed from the bill provisions shielding manufacturers of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MBTE) from product liability lawsuits. MTBE has been the subject of numerous lawsuits alleging that it has polluted drinking water, and Democrats criticized Republicans' efforts to shield oil companies from liability. Protecting oil companies, explained Democrats, would impose up to $29 billion of clean-up costs on the states themselves. Moreover, Capps stated that the provision represented an improper "unfunded mandate," or a measure that would impose costs on the states without providing funding to cover those costs. Republicans countered that the energy bill would direct that some money from an existing trust fund of $2 billion go toward the cost of MTBE cleanup, and that fundamental questions concerning MTBE have still not been resolved (including the question of whether MTBE is itself a defective product). They also argued that amendment supporters had offered no proof that the energy bill provision represented an unfunded mandate. Progressives lost on this issue when the House defeated the amendment by a vote of 213 to 219, with 14 Democrats crossing party lines to vote against the amendment. 25 Republicans opted to vote with the Democrats in favor of the amendment. Thus, the provision in the bill shielding MBTE manufacturers from product liability lawsuits remained, thereby arguably leaving the responsibility and cost of cleanup of MTBE pollution with states and communities.

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