Cheryl SealRefinery Bill Threatens State, Local, & Citizens RightsSun Oct 9, 2005 17:27184.108.40.206City leaders today vowed to press on in their fight against H.R. 3893, the Gasoline for America's Security Act of 2005, as it moves to the Senate following today's close vote in the House. Officials from the National League of Cities (NLC) see the bill as a serious preemption of the historic rights of cities and towns to determine where facilities such as refineries can be located....
"We deeply appreciate the support of the 14 Republicans, one Independent and all Democrats who voted today in opposition to this effort to undermine the rights of local citizens to speak out," said [NLC director Donald J.] Borut. "Clearly they have listened to the cities and towns and understand that locating a facility as large and potentially environmentally significant as an oil refinery in their backyards needs to be decided at the local level-not by the Secretary of Energy, the President of the United States, or the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington as the bill calls for."
NLC's opposition is prompted by concerns that the bill would:
-- Override state and local zoning and land use authority by stripping away any local citizen involvement and placing it into the hands of Washington decision makers.
-- Discourage local governments from advocating on the behalf of their residents by establishing a "loser-pays" standard. Specifically, the bill forces localities to pay the attorney's fees of the industry if a city loses; however, if the local government wins the case, the industry is not required to pay cities for the expense of the litigation.
-- Reduce the number of possible blends of diesel and gasoline, without regard for the individual needs of localities that depend on these special blends to reduce emissions from mobile sources. This could cause wide-spread increases in emissions from these sources, affecting the health and well-being of Americans everywhere.
"We have alerted our membership to put out a no-holds barred effort to defeat this bill in the Senate," said Borut. "If adopted, this bill would allow the federal government to put a refinery on any piece of federal land it wants or anywhere the oil industry thinks it will be profitable for them, without a thought to the needs or concerns of the citizens in the area. This is not the best way for Congress to help the areas affected by Hurricanes Katrina or Rita or to address the serious concerns about price gouging at the gas pumps by the oil industry."
For more information, contact Veronique Pluvoise-Fenton, 202- 626-3029 or Joanna Liberman, 202-626-3042.
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