Hypocrite watch

Mark Kennedy's at it again. And this time he's "saving the environment!"

For two weeks in a row now, Rep. Mark Kennedy takes the top spot as the biggest hypocrite in Minnesota politics. As we reported last week, Kennedy urged Minnesotans to support breast-cancer research and funding while he voted against amdendments that would require Association Health Plans to offer breast-cancer screenings.

This time around, in another contradictory episode from his online "Weekly Column," Kennedy claims "we must remain passionate about conserving our lands and our water." The senatorial candidate, however, is more passionate about conserving the coal, oil, nuclear, and natural gas industries, even if that means polluting Minnesota lakes. In fact, last month, not only did Kennedy vote for the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which would grant 93 percent of the bill's tax breaks ($8.1 billion) to producers of fossil fuels and nuclear energy, but he voted to protect makers of the fuel additive MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether) from liability lawsuits. MTBE contaminates drinking water in 29 states, including Minnesota. (224,000 Minnesota residents are drinking it every day.) It's estimated that cleaning up MTBE from the nation's water supply will cost $29 billion, which would be dumped in the public's lap.

According to the League of Conservation Voters, the third-term Republican is consistently anti-environment, never casting a pro-environment vote in his three terms in office. They give Kennedy a score of "zero" (by contrast, Rep. Betty McCollum receives a 100). But we give him our generous first-prize award in this week's hard-battled hypocrite awards. Congratulations, Rep. Kennedy! We can't wait till he starts touting equal rights for all.

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