LOBBYISTS RUSH TO GET W'S LAST FAVORS

Cowboy hat By Jim Hightower and Phillip Frazer - Sun., 1/13/08
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The lobbyists who put tens of millions of dollars into the campaign coffers of George W and the GOP--and enjoyed big-time payback for seven years--see that time is running out. Republicans lost control of Congress, and Bush is soon to go, so corporate lobbyists are now on a frantic shopping spree.

What they want is for the Bushites to rig regulatory rules to benefit their industries. Coal barons, for example, are pleading for permission to dump tons of rubble and waste into the valleys and streams of Appalachia. This "spoil," as they call it, is the by-product of an environmentally devastating mining shortcut called mountaintop removal. To get at the coal, they blow up the top third of these beautiful mountains. Rather than hauling off their rubble, they want a n okay simply to shove it down the mountainside, burying the streams, animals, and everything else below.

Similarly, chicken potentates such as Perdue want an exemption from laws that ban massive releases of ammonia from their factory farms; electric power plants want to increase their toxic emissions without the "burden" of installing pollution controls; and big business lobbyists want to bypass family-leave laws, which allow unpaid time off to care for newborns or deal with family illness.



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