HIGHTOWER: Dirty Little Angels

Shout hallelujah! [Chorus: "Hallelujah"]!Believe it or not, Newt Gingrich and Gang actually passed an anti-pollution bill, and -- Sweet Jesus! -- they are shouting hallelujah all over the place, praising themselves to the high heavens.Well, give the devils their due, they did renew the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974, and it's a good bill. But before you get too carried-away with their freshly-polished environmental halos, remember that Newt's Gang is like the sinner who goes to church and sings louder than anyone on Sunday mornings, but returns to full-time sinning Monday through Saturday. These longtime sinners know that us environmental voters are sick of their reckless efforts of the past year-and-a-half to gut our anti-pollution laws, and they hope this one vote will make us forget their polluting ways.Never trust election-year conversions, though. These are the same lawmakers who slashed a billion dollars from local water protection programs, who hogtied the government to keep it from enforcing laws that keep cancer-causing chemicals out of our drinking water and who opposed government crackdowns on polluters who repeatedly violate the Clean Water Act.Indeed, the Sierra Club analyzed the votes on nine key water bills and found that 148 of these Dirty Little Angels did not vote for water protection even once. Another 38 of them voted against clean water eight out of nine times.With one hand, these members are patting themselves on the back for extending the Safe Drinking Water Act, but with the other hand, they're grabbing campaign contributions from the polluting industries that bought their votes on the other nine bills.To get a true voting record and learn whether your lawmaker is really a saint -- or just a sinner -- call the Sierra Club: 202/547-1141.

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