Press Releases



Bishop/Shea-Porter Provision to Prohibit Toxic Burn Pits in Iraq and Afghanistan Passes House 

Hundreds of veterans report illnesses after exposure to toxic burn pits

Bishop/Shea-Porter provision would ban improper use, protect health of troops

Washington, DC — At the urging of national military and veterans organizations representing millions of service members and veterans, the House of Representatives passed an amendment offered by Representatives Tim Bishop (D-NY) and Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) that will end the irresponsible use of open-air burn pits. The Bishop/Shea-Porter amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (HR 2647) would require the Defense Secretary to prohibit the disposal of medical and hazardous waste in open-air burn pits during a contingency operation lasting longer than 12 months. It also would require the Secretary to submit a report to Congress on the use of such burn pits and safer alternatives.


“I introduced this amendment with Congresswoman Shea-Porter because we should not continue to recklessly use burn pits to dispose of hazardous waste across Iraq and Afghanistan," said Congressman Bishop. "Our troops should be free to focus on fighting the enemy without worrying how their lives may be further endangered by breathing in toxic air from their own bases.”


“Burn pits expose our troops to dangerous toxins that can cause long-term health problems,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter. “When they deploy, our service members put their lives at risk and do not deserve to suffer this added, unjustifiable risk.”


The Bishop/Shea-Porter amendment was strongly endorsed (see below) by the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Military Officers Association of America, National Guard Association of the United States, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Veterans and Military Families for Progress.


Earlier this month, sick veterans and their families, scientists and veteran advocates held a press conference at the U.S. Capitol to promote a bill by Reps. Bishop and Shea-Porter (HR 2419) to require a full investigation into the effects of burn pits and to prohibit their continued use. The key provisions of HR 2419 have been incorporated in the National Defense Authorization Act, which the House passed today.


There is mounting evidence that veterans may be ill—and some may have actually died—as a result of exposure to dangerous toxins produced by these burn pits. A significant number of the roughly two million service members who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan have been exposed to these toxic burn pits, and hundreds of returning veterans are now displaying similar health symptoms.


For additional information and reports, please see


Endorsements from National Organizations


The American Legion:
“Clearly prolonged the prolonged exposure to the smoke and ash resulting from the burn pits is unhealthy for our troops. The American Legion supports the Bishop-Shea-Porter NDAA amendment to ban burn pits coming to House floor tomorrow and urges Congress to pass the NDAA amendment.”

Disabled American Veterans:
“Hundreds of current and former service members have reported to DAV that they were heavily exposed to fumes from numerous, extremely large burn pits around Iraq and Afghanistan. The majority of these troops reported that they became ill during such exposure and that their illnesses have continued to worsen after such exposure. The DAV does NOT perceive this as a coincidence. ...Therefore, the DAV thanks you for having the foresight to stand up for veterans by trying to limit the unregulated and long-term use of dangerous and irresponsible open air burning of waste.”


Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America:

“More than six years into the war in Iraq and eight years into the war in Afghanistan, the U.S. military continues daily disposal of hundreds of tons of war-zone waste in a crudest and hazardous manner—open-air burn pits... By limiting the use of open air burn pits, this amendment helps protect members of the Armed Forces from exposure to potentially hazardous waste while serving their country, and directs the DOD to account for all of the hazardous materials that can potentially harm our military personnel.”


Military Officers Association of America
“More and more service members have come forward with various symptoms and life-threatening medical conditions after being exposed to burn pits used to dispose of waste in Iraq and Afghanistan.”


National Guard Association of the United States:
“Our members already exposed to the hazards of combat deserve protection from unnecessary self generated environmental hazards. They and their families who will share in the harmful effects of these hazardous environmental exposures deserve nothing less than the protection this amendment would provide.”

Veterans of Foreign Wars:
“...we believe, as you do, that incinerating toxic waste materials at military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan are likely responsible for a growing number of illnesses affecting soldiers coming home to the US. Moreover, despite growing concerns over the widespread open-air burning of trash, only about half of 41 incinerators the military purchased four years ago to combat the problem are in operation. Thank you for taking the lead on this initiative and for your continued support of our armed forces and military veterans.”



NRCC - Will Carol Shea-Porter Bow to Pelosi on National Energy Tax?

Shea-Porter Already Knows Energy Tax Will Kill Jobs, But What Else is Hidden in the Bill?

Washington – As Nancy Pelosi forces her massive job-killing energy tax through Congress, New Hampshire voters need to know if Carol Shea-Porter will actually read the 1,200-page bill or allow her Democrat leaders to pull the wool over her eyes once again. With the bill set to come to a vote on Friday, Shea-Porter and her fellow Democrats will once again vote on an enormous piece of legislation with just a few short days to read the gritty details.


“As Carol Shea-Porter continues to play along with Speaker Pelosi’s efforts to pass another job-killing bill without time to actually read its contents, the people of New Hampshire are left to wonder what else is hidden in this massive energy tax,” said NRCC Communications Director Ken Spain. “After the stimulus debacle, New Hampshire voters have already learned the hard way what happens when Carol Shea-Porter buys into Pelosi’s ‘trust me’ sales pitch.”


The lobbying effort is startlingly similar to what took place prior to passage of the so-called stimulus bill, which Democrats passed without reading and included such famous provisions as protection for AIG bonuses. Indeed, the Speaker is pushing hard to get her members to fall in line as her deadline approaches:


“Pelosi is pushing the climate change measure full tilt, and enormous pressure is already building for rank-and-file Democrats to fall into line.”


“That lobbying effort has now kicked into higher gear, according to Democratic aides and lobbyists, with the White House and Democratic leadership launching a full-court press to bring one of President Barack Obama’s top two legislative initiatives across the finish line.” (Steven T. Dennis and Tory Newmyer, “Pelosi Flexes Muscle,” Roll Call, 6/24/09)




“The 1,073-page [stimulus bill] includes the biggest spending increase since World War II, but more important is the fine print expanding the role of the federal government across the breadth of American business, health care, energy and welfare policy.


“Given those stakes, you might think Congress would get more than a few hours to debate it. But, no, yesterday's roll call votes came less than 24 hours after House-Senate conferees had agreed to their deal. Democrats rushed the bill to the floor before Members could even read it, much less have time to broadcast the details so the public could offer its verdict.” (“1,073 Pages: A Stimulus Bill That's Anything but Transparent ,” Wall Street Journal Editorial, 2/16/09)


“Democratic leaders scrambling to strip AIG executives of bonuses are having a hard time answering a key question: Why didn't Congress act to prevent the bonuses in the first place?”


“Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana... made a stunning admission.


“‘Frankly it was such a rush -- we're talking about the stimulus bill now -- to get it passed, I didn't have time and other conferees didn't have time to address many of the provisions that were modified significantly,’ said Baucus.” (Dana Bash and Ted Barrett, “Bonuses Allowed by Stimulus Bill,” CNN, 3/18/09)



Day Three of Clean Energy Week, Secretary Donovan Addresses Importance of Developing Energy-Efficient, Affordable Housing

Secretary Chu Highlights New Recovery Act Funding for Clean Energy Projects


WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, on the third day of Clean Energy Week, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu addressed key administration clean energy initiatives and highlighted the President’s commitment to sign comprehensive energy and climate legislation. In Washington, Secretary Donovan addressed the HOPE VI Green Building and Energy Efficient Development Conference, a gathering of public housing officials, energy experts, developers and architects, and encouraged continuing innovation in developing energy-efficient, affordable housing. In San Francisco, Secretary Chu attended the Edison Electric Institute Annual Convention to announce new Recovery Act funding for clean energy projects.


HOPE VI is a HUD-developed program that revitalizes severely distressed public housing and rebuilds the housing to create energy-efficient, mixed-income communities. HOPE VI grants, first awarded in 1993, have given 248 communities a combined $5.9 billion to redevelop their severely distressed public housing and to create mixed-income communities. The program has also been credited with transforming neighborhoods and improving the quality of life for families who lived in the old developments that were often crime-ridden and drug-infested. HOPE VI recipients have the opportunity to replace the old public housing with new housing using the latest green innovations that can save both the housing authority and residents’ energy expenses over time.


“President Obama is committed to passing comprehensive energy and climate legislation that will generate millions of jobs, reduce the threat of deadly pollution and restore America’s role as a global leader in the clean energy industry,” Donovan said. “Increasing energy efficiency among American’s affordable housing stock is a central goal of both HUD and the Obama Administration, because it will not only create jobs, but will also lower operating costs for residents, public housing authorities and taxpayers.”


In San Francisco, Secretary Chu addressed the Edison Electric Institute Annual Convention to announce a total of more than $154 million for State Energy Programs in California, Missouri, New Hampshire and North Carolina. Each of the states is receiving 40 percent of their total State Energy Program funding authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The funding will go toward clean energy initiatives such as training workers for clean energy jobs, increasing energy efficiency in buildings across the states and increasing renewable energy projects.


“This funding will provide an important boost for state economies, help to put Americans back to work, and move us toward energy independence," said Secretary Chu. "It reflects our commitment to support innovative state and local strategies to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy while insisting that taxpayer dollars be spent responsibly."


Today, Chu also announced that as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Department of Energy is soliciting applications for $3.9 billion in grants to support efforts to modernize the electric grid, allowing for greater integration of renewable energy sources while increasing the reliability, efficiency and security of the nation’s transmission and distribution system.



Other events that have taken place during Clean Energy Week:


· Energy Secretary Chu visited Ford’s Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn,

Michigan, to announce $8 billion in conditional loan commitments for the development

Of innovative, advanced vehicle technologies that will create thousands of green jobs

while helping reduce the nation’s dangerous dependence on foreign oil.


  • Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Governor Jon Corzine visited Atlantic City to issue five exploratory leases for renewable wind energy production on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore New Jersey and Delaware, as well as discuss the president’s commitment to a comprehensive energy plan.


  • Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt held an event highlighting the numerous “green” initiatives at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City. Last week, the Center received the Closing the Circle Award from the White House for its environmental stewardship.


  • Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, and Van Jones, Special Advisor for Green Jobs at the Council, visited Charlottesville, Virginia, to demonstrate the development of the city's innovative revolving loan program for energy efficiency upgrades.


  • EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson joined Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper to tour and hold a press conference at Highlands Gardens Village, a smart growth development community. Jackson commended the residential, office and retail development as a model for urban planning and energy efficiency and highlighted a new federal partnership to advance sustainable communities across the nation.


· Commerce Secretary Gary Locke held a town hall at the Detroit-area United Solar

Ovonic manufacturing plant. He was joined by workers and local business owners to

discuss the challenges they face and the administration's efforts to help businesses

meet those challenges.


·Labor Secretary Hilda Solis visited Memphis to tour the Sharp Solar facility, visit HOPE

VI public housing and announce $500 million in grants to train workers for green jobs.

She also visited West Memphis, Arkansas to visit the Arkansas Delta Wired Grant

program at the Mid-South Community College (MSCC) campus and tour the Workforce

Technology Center, a facility that provides green jobs training.




DNC - Chairman Kaine Urges Congress to Pass Energy Bill to Create Jobs 

Kaine Strongly Urges House to Pass Historic Bill and Help Jumpstart Our Clean Energy Economy, Create Jobs



Washington – On Thursday, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine issued the following statement in anticipation of a full House of Representatives vote this Friday on the American Clean Energy and Security Act.


“Today I call on the House of Representatives to pass the American Clean Energy and Security Act, landmark legislation supported by President Obama that will transform the way we use and produce energy in America. The passage of this bill represents the next step towards an energy plan that will help fuel a lasting economic recovery, break our dependence on foreign oil, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create a framework of clean energy incentives to create millions of good, green new jobs.


“This bill represents months of extraordinary effort on behalf of our Democratic leaders in Congress, including Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, and his committee’s members, including Congressmen Ed Markey, John Dingell and Rick Boucher, as well as Charlie Rangel, the Chair of Ways and Means, and Collin Peterson, the Chair of the Agriculture Committee. Under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer, remarkable work has been done to get this bill to the floor.


“The House has the opportunity to make history when the bill comes to vote on Friday – to move us closer to independence from Middle East oil, to jumpstart our clean energy economy, and to finally address the dangerous carbon pollution that threatens our planet. As President Obama has said, passing this bill is extraordinarily important for our country and I strongly urge members of the House of Representatives to come together and pass the American Clean Energy and Security Act.”



VP Biden Applauds NH for Meeting Recovery Act Milestone Ahead of Schedule 

New Hampshire Obligated Half of Its Highway Funds on March 18


Washington, DC – Vice President Joe Biden and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced that transportation projects funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) are putting people to work and building a foundation for the country’s long-term economic strength.


As part of the Administration’s effort to infuse Recovery Act funds swiftly into the economy, states are required under ARRA to obligate 50 percent of their highway funds by June 29, 2009. Working in coordination with the U.S. Department of Transportation, all 55 U.S. states and territories successfully beat this deadline at least 10 days ahead of schedule.


Nationwide, to date, $19 billion has been obligated to fund over 5,300 approved for highway and other transportation projects nationwide. Of those, 1,900 projects are already underway. Already in New Hampshire, the state has put to work $88 million in highway funds – or 97.1 percent -- of the funds required under the Act.


“Our number one priority with the Recovery Act is getting folks back to work – and there is no better way to do that in these early days than by putting shovels in the ground and jump-starting projects like these that create jobs and boost local communities,” said Vice President Biden. “By delivering on these projects ahead of schedule and under-budget, we have been able to do even more than we expected -- create more job opportunities more quickly, with more dollars left over to put toward more projects that put people back on the job.”


As of today, New Hampshire’s largest ARRA-funded project at $25.9 million, is I-93, Exit 2 Area, Northbound Mainline Construction from Salem Town Line to Exit 3. This project is part of a larger effort to widen a 20-mile segment of I-93 between Exits 1 and 5 from the Massachusetts state line to Manchester, NH. The total project will add an additional two travel lanes in each direction, improve the five interchanges south of Interstate 293, and replace, rehabilitate, or widen 43 bridges. The goal of this project is to make the I-93 corridor safer and to improve mobility and relieve congestion.


Across the country, many transportation projects funded by the Recovery Act are coming in under budget and ahead of schedule. Reports continue to show that contractor bids to build and repair transportation networks are coming in substantially below the original engineering estimates. In some cases, thanks to fierce competition for the work, bids are 10, 20 and even 30 percent lower than expected. That means states are able to stretch taxpayer dollars, completing additional projects and creating even more jobs.


“Every state not only met the 120-day deadline, they beat it,” said Secretary LaHood. “This is a testament to the fact that we’re putting money out there quickly and helping to get the economy back on track.”


President Obama signed ARRA on February 17, 2009, and funding was made available on March 3. ARRA funding for highway projects may be used for restoration, repair, construction, and other activities under the Surface Transportation Program. Each proposed project must be approved by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Governors must certify that proposed projects meet certain conditions and that the state will use ARRA funds in addition to, not in replacement of, state funding of transportation projects.


Priority is given to projects that are projected to be completed within three years, are located in economically distressed areas, or will maximize job creation and economic benefits.