Protesters Surprised by Invitation Inside Gerlach’s Office
By Tom Mulkeen, Contributing Writer
Members of Clean Air Council, PennEnvironment, and the National Wildlife Foundation were protesting in front of the district office of U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-6) when they were invited to air their grievances in person to members of Gerlach’s staff.
They were protesting Gerlach’s vote on the continuing resolution spending bill passed by the House in the early morning of February 19. That bill, which passed the House 235-189 almost entirely along on party lines, is expected to be debated by the Senate this week. Specifically, the environmental activists were protesting three amendments that take power away from the EPA in limiting carbon pollution and emissions by companies according to environmental groups.
According to an article by Jennifer Miller of the Journal Register News Service, about 15 protesters were invited into Gerlach’s office in Exton by his press secretary, Kori Walter where they avoided the pouring rain on Friday. Gerlach was not at the office, but Walter said the group’s concerns were relayed to Gerlach.
“We want (Gerlach) to know and the public to know what he’s voting for and the threat he poses to people’s health,” Adam Garber, the field director for PennEnviroment said Thursday. Gerlach argued in the article that the amendment did not alter any current clean air laws.
The two groups agreed to disagree at the meeting. Katie Feeney, a Clean Air Council policy analyst, said, “the meeting didn’t seem to alter how their office views the issue or how we view the issue.”
According to The Hill, the actions taken by the activists may be part of a national effort by liberal groups to protest specific cuts to programs that would be affected by the budget passed by the House. Gerlach’s district was one of several across the country targeted by a liberal group called Health Care without Harm, which ran radio ads there last week.
Nearby Reps. Fitzpatrick and Meehan have been the repeated targets of Democratic-leaning issues advocacy groups, including Planned Parenthood.