U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello (D-12) has a couple things in common with U.S. Reps. Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN), according to a recent report by Greenpeace. They have all worked to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from imposing "modernizing standards for pollutants that come predominantly from coal-fired power plants, including mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, greenhouse gases, and coal ash."
And they've gotten big money for doing it.
According to the report, "Polluting Democracy: Coal Plays Dirty On The Hill" (PDF), Rep. Costello, who is co-chair of the Congressional Coal Caucus, has received some $168,650 since the 1998 electoral season from companies including Ameren Corporation, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, and Peabody Energy. Meanwhile, GOP Presidential hopeful Rep. Bachmann has received $131,980 since 2006 from the fossil fuel industry and House Majority Leader Cantor has collected an astounding $655,547 from coal-interested parties since the 2000 election.
“This report links the politicians’ actions, which undermine their constituents' health, and the money they accept from the coal industry,” said Greenpeace Senior Legislative Representative Jyle Ash. “The fifteen Representatives named in this report are acting against the interests of the communities that they represent, and the dirty money that they’re taking from the coal industry is taken at the expense of America’s health and safety. We must urge our representatives to let EPA do its job by protecting us from dangerous toxins produced by coal-fired power plants.”
Greenpeace says the 15 congressmen that were chosen for the list were picked for their leadership positions, adding that the group is just a snapshot of those in the "House of Representatives working for America's decreipt coal-fired power industry." The group added that the congressmen have the collective power to "turn the tide" on coal-related, pollution legislation.
The following Congressmen were listed as the "Dirty Money Team", according to Greenpeace: Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. Jerry Costello (D-IL), Rep. Mark Critz (D-PA), Rep Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO), Rep Doc Hastings (R-WA), Rep Bill Johnson (R-OH), Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT), Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM), Rep. Mike Rodgers (R-MI), Rep. Patrick Tiberi (R-OH), Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), and Ed Whitfield (R-KY). Costello was also named among the top 25 percent of congressmen receiving money from the coal industry.