Report: Clinton Once Voted Against Amendment to Prevent Water Pollution

Dem candidate has been vocal critic of Flint water contamination crisis

Hillary Clinton in Flint, Michigan / AP

Hillary Clinton in Flint, Michigan / AP

BY:

Hillary Clinton, who has been an intense critic of the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Michigan, voted against a bill to prevent groundwater pollution when she was representing New York in the U.S. Senate.

The International Business Times reported:

Facing reports that a controversial fuel additive was contaminating water supplies across America, Clinton as a senator in 2005 opposed a bipartisan measure to ban the chemical–even though Bill Clinton’s Environmental Protection Agency had first proposed such a prohibition. At roughly the same time, one major company producing the chemical also tried to use provisions in a trade deal backed by Hillary Clinton to force local governments in the United States to let it continue selling the toxic compound. At issue was the chemical known as methyl tertiary butyl ether–or MTBE. Though the compound makes fuel burn cleaner, by the end of the 1990s, scientists began detecting an increasing amount of the potential carcinogen in groundwater supplies.

A 2000 federal study forecasted that water in dozens of states risked being contaminated by MTBE, and years later an analysis from an environmental group found that millions of Americans’ water supplies had been contaminated by the chemical. The controversy precipitated lawsuits and led Congress to propose an amendment to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that would have banned the compound.

Clinton, along with 14 Republicans and 11 Democrats, voted against the legislation, which ultimately passed the Senate but was not included in the final energy bill.

The New York senator later expressed “concern” about MTBE after a report indicated that it had also been linked to cancer. She, along with others on the Environment and Public Works Committee, also wrote a letter to leaders on the Senate Energy Committee urging Congress to “act to discontinue the use of MTBE,” according to a release from her office.

Eventually, the compound was phased out of of the country’s gasoline supplies, though it still sparks contamination fears.

 The report spotlighting Clinton’s vote against the measure banning the chemical comes days before the Democratic presidential primary debate takes place in Flint, Michigan, the center of a national controversy over contaminated water.
Clinton has repeatedly expressed outrage over the crisis in Flint, taking her presidential campaign there last month and addressing the situation during a speech on Super Tuesday.
“When I first heard about what was happening here, I was so angry. I was outraged. And you must feel exactly the same,” Clinton told a congregation in Flint in February. “This is not merely unacceptable or wrong, though it is both. What happened in Flint is immoral.”

Morgan Chalfant   Email Morgan | Full Bio | RSS
Morgan Chalfant is a staff writer at the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Free Beacon, Morgan worked as a staff writer at Red Alert Politics. She also served as the year-long Collegiate Network fellow on the editorial page at USA TODAY from 2013-14. Morgan graduated from Boston College in 2013 with a B.A. in English and Mathematics. Her Twitter handle is @mchalfant16.

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