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US House

A Closer Look
at Climate Issues...

To aid constituents seeking to dig deeper into their representative's stands on climate change and global warming, this page provides additional detail on six key House votes from 2017-2018, including pro-and-con quotes from floor debate that illustrate the partisan and ideological differences in this policy area.
1. Nullifying Rule On Methane Leaks
(Votes Lookup at Roll Call #78)

Voting 221 for and 191 against, the House on Feb. 3, 2017, adopted a measure (HJ Res 36) that would nullify a rule aimed at reducing methane discharges -- due to flaring, venting and equipment leaks -- from oil and gas drilling operations on Bureau of Land Management and tribal lands in the West. The new regulation was the first update of the BLM's emissions rule in 30 years, a period in which energy-extraction technology greatly improved, helping to set off a production boom. The BLM said the loss of gas through emissions significantly reduces American energy production, deprives taxpayers and tribes of royalty payments and discharges high levels of the greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere. But repeal backers said the rule unduly burdened energy companies in a regulatory area best left to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Then-Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.:
"The oil and gas industry in America has already drastically reduced methane emissions, even while increasing output, and the EPA already has the authority to regulate air emissions."
Opponent Alan Lowenthal, D-Calif.:
"For people who live near oil and gas wells, this is not just a climate problem. Methane contributes to low-level ozone, which causes a number of health problems, such as shortness of breath, more frequent asthma attacks and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease."
A yes vote was to send the resolution to the Senate, where it failed.
2. Removing Climate Reports From Military Budget
(Votes Lookup at Roll Call #368)

Voting 185 for and 234 against, the House on July 13, 2017, refused to strip from the fiscal 2018 military budget (HR 2810) a requirement for Department of Defense reports on the impact of climate change on U.S. military installations and combat readiness.

Supporter Scott Perry, R-Pa.:
"This federal mandate detracts from the essential mission of the Department of Defense, which is to secure our nation from enemies, and is best left to the agencies that are better suited to deal with these [climate] issues."
Opponent Jim Langevin, D-R.I.:
"We already see the strategic implications of new sea lanes being cut in the melting Arctic, where countries are seeking an economic advantage. As we speak, along our coasts, rising seas are affecting our naval installations, including at Naval Station Norfolk, the home of the Atlantic Fleet."
A yes vote was to remove a climate-change reporting requirement from the bill.
3. Delaying Stricter Ozone Standards For Eight Years
(Votes Lookup at Roll Call #391)

Voting 229 for and 199 against, the House on July 18, 2017, passed a GOP-sponsored bill (HR 806) that would extend from 2017 to 2025 the deadline for states to adopt stricter standards under the Clean Air Act for reducing ground-level concentrations of the toxic gas ozone. This would delay an Environmental Protection Agency rule that required ozone to be reduced from 75 parts per billion to 70 ppb by 2017. The bill also extended from five years to 10 years the frequency of EPA reviews to ensure that National Ambient Air Quality Standards reflect the latest scientific and medical information.

Supporter David McKinley, R-W.Va.:
"We all want clean air. But America has made great strides already. Ozone is down by one-third since 1980. But the regulations imposed by President Obama in 2015 would cost the economy billions of dollars each year and hamper job growth."
Opponent Kathy Castor, D-Fla.:
"Ozone, or smog, is a corrosive gas that forms when emissions from smokestacks and tailpipes cook in the heat and sunlight. It triggers asthma and other respiratory illnesses. It is very expensive. It is not fair for Republicans to let polluters off the hook and shift costs to hardworking American families."
A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where it failed.
4. Barring Spending To Regulate Social Cost Of Carbon
(Votes Lookup at Roll Call #253)

Voting 212 for and 201 against, the House on June 8, 2018, adopted an amendment to HR 5895 that would prohibit any funds in the bill from being spent to regulate or provide guidance on the social cost of carbon.

Supporter Louie Gohmert, R-Texas:
Taxation to discourage carbon emissions is "ultimately a tax on the nation's poor. The rich, they can handle these added, superfluous costs that come out of the nebulous areas of bureaucrats' minds, but the real ultimate cost is actually to the nation's poor."
Opponent Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio:
The amendment "is tantamount to saying that weather changes and climate change have no cost and no one will get hurt....Tell that to citizens in Puerto Rico, who lost businesses, homes and loved ones after Hurricane Maria, that there is no cost from weather changes."
A yes vote was to oppose regulations putting a social cost on carbon emissions.
5. Taking Stand Against Carbon Taxes
(Votes Lookup at Roll Call #363)

Voting 229 for and 180 against, the House on July 19, 2018, adopted a nonbinding GOP statement of opposition to proposals that would put a new tax on the use of coal, natural gas and petroleum products in order to discourage their use and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide. The measure (H Con Res 119) asserted that a carbon tax "would be detrimental to American families and businesses and is not in the best interest of the United States." Foes of the measure said carbon taxation is a cost-efficient and equitable way to reduce toxic emissions while generating revenue to help those harmed the most by cost increases for fossil fuels.

Supporter Andy Barr, R-Ky.:
"I am not a climate denier. I am not a science denier. I am a climate thinker. I am a science thinker. Real science is not just about assessing cost only. It is about looking at benefits as well. Those supporting a carbon tax look only at costs, but not benefits, of coal and other fossil energy."
Opponent Don Beyer, D-Va.:
"It is axiomatic economics that we tax the things we want to discourage. The scientific evidence continues to accumulate in prodigious amounts that carbon pollution is profoundly changing the climate of our earth. The costs of inaction are staggering....Carbon pricing is the most market-oriented policy action we can take to combat this."
A yes vote was to adopt the resolution, which lacked the force of law.
6. Requiring Steps Against Methane Emissions
(Votes Lookup at Roll Call #390)

Voting 195 for and 210 against, the House on Sept. 6, 2018, defeated an amendment to HR 4606 that sought to require applications for exporting U.S. natural gas to show that the fuel was produced using technology to minimize methane emissions from leaks, venting and flaring. Methane, a greenhouse gas, causes climate change and global warming when it escapes into the atmosphere.

Supporter Diana DeGette, D-Colo.:
The measure would "increase the royalties collected for taxpayers, it would reduce climate-changing emissions and it would protect public health."
Opponent Pete Olson, R-Texas:
The amendment is unnecessary "because emissions from natural gas wells are already regulated by the EPA and states under the Clean Air Act."
A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.
Copyright 2019, Thomas Voting Reports, Inc.