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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

SF Enviros Blast Obama's Swiss Cheese Lobbying Rules

Posted By on Tue, May 12, 2009 at 6:30 AM

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Barack Obama kicked off his presidency by limiting his administration's vulnerability to lobbyists. By May, however, it seemed clear that resourceful Democratic Party insiders would circumvent the limited ban. San Francisco's Amazon Watch has just denounced former Clinton Administration trade representative Mickey Cantor for violating the spirit of the Obama rules by lobbying his old bureaucracy on behalf of Chevron Texaco. Cantor has been lobbying the U.S. government to help quash $27 billion in liability faced by the San Ramon-based oil giant in connection with oil-related contamination in Ecuador.

On January 21, Obama announced new rules prohibiting administration officials from lobbying their old departments. But the ban didn't limit already-working lobbyists such as Cantor.
Notwithstanding, Mitch Anderson, who monitors the Ecuador lawsuit on behalf of Amazon Watch, said Kantor is violating the spirit of the Obama lobbying rules, according to the policy newsletter "State & Local Health Law Weekly."

The lawsuit alleges that Texaco, which was purchased by Chevron,

operated oil wells in the Ecuadorian rain forest from 1964 to 1990,

dumping 18 billion gallons of toxic waste into Amazon waterways, and

abandoning some 900 toxic waste pits, contamination supposedly linked

to more than 1000 cancer deaths.

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Matt Smith


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