A recent San Francisco Chronicle article raises concerns about toxic mercury contaminating animals of all types across the country.
"From songbirds to alligators, turtles to bats, eagles to polar bears, mercury is accumulating in nearly every link of the food chain," said Catherine Bowes, an author of the report who manages the [National Wildlife Federation]'s mercury program in the northeastern states.
The article goes on to state that
High mercury levels in popular fish such as swordfish and canned albacore tuna prompted government health warnings in 2004 aimed at pregnant women and children. Mercury is a neurotoxin that can damage fetuses and cause mental retardation, learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, blindness and deafness.
Funny, that completely contradicts a report Pombo and fellow Republican Jim Gibbons of Nevada issued in 2005, called "Mercury is Our Friend". Oops, the real title was "Mercury in Perspective: Fact and Fiction About the Debate Over Mercury" put out by the propaganda arm of the House Resources Committee. Pombo never was shy about using your taxpayer dollars to promote energy industry lies and distortions.
Chris Mooney, author of The Republican War on Science, called Pombo's report "a misleading contrarian pamphlet aimed at convincing Americans that despite everything they may have heard, mercury levels in fish aren't dangerous and U.S.-based mercury emitters aren't a significant part of the problem." (from American Prospect article)
And where did Pombo the "sudden scientist" get his data? From his friends in the energy industry, of course. According to Mooney:
Pombo's report runs "over much of what we know about mercury risks from reliable sources like the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Academy of Sciences. Instead, the report turns to industry and think-tank opinion. Of its 59 references, 14 cite industry sources like the Edison Electric Institute and Electric Power Research Institute or conservative think tanks like the Center for Science and Public Policy (CSPP) at Frontiers of Freedom (which calls the basis for any regulation of mercury from power plants "questionable")."
And here is the next obvious step in this whole charade: how much money did the coal/energy industry pump into Pombo's campaign? Do you have to ask? Isn't it clear by now that Pombo will say or do anything to win the favor of these lobbyists?
Okay, if you need facts and figures on the money, here are some from Open Secrets: in the current election cycle alone, Pombo has received $228,894 so far from Energy Industries. This includes oil, gas, coal mining, and electric utilities. That is almost enough to pay his wife, Annette, her "fee" for "fundraising" activities!
What a racket! Get a bunch of money from these polluting industries, give over a quarter million of it to your wife and family, then use taxpayer dollars to put out highly skewed "studies" promoting just what the industries want.
A great scam -- except for all those children and pregnant mothers, along with every sort of animal, suffering from mercury contamination. Gee, if it wasn't for that one little inconvenient fact, Pombo would have perfected quite the perpetual money machine for himself.