The Austin Chronicle

Dennis the Menace Under Attack

By Richard Whittaker, September 7, 2007, 12:27pm, Newsdesk

So while you're stuck in your car, pumping out fumes, keep listening to the radio for the latest campaign against the state's biggest friend to polluters. Eco-lobby group Environmental Defense is to launch a series of radio and billboard ads against Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton. He's chair of the House Environmental Regulation Committee, which made more than a few eyes roll when that appointment was announced.

Nicknamed Dennis the Menace, Bonnen is notoriously charmless, bullying and dismissive of any contrary viewpoint in committee (Chronic once saw him lay into Austin City Assistant Manager Rudy Garza for no good reason, and it was ugly.) More importantly, he's got a solid rep for killing in his committee any bill that might put a bigger burden on polluters. As Environmental Defense points out on their website, last lege session 15 bills that would have improved air quality never got past his tender ministries. Meanwhile, Bonnen sponsored a bunch of bills that would have made life easier for polluters, like House Bill 2875, which if passed (which, fortunately, it didn't) would have made "I didn't know it was polluted when I dumped it" a decent defense against litigation.

To catch the ads, go to

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