Votes Confirm Historic Anti-Environmentalism in House of Representatives, Campaign Launched to Save the EPA

The US House of Representatives under Republican control has taken 110 anti-environment votes this year, according to a fact sheet released this week by Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Edward Markey (D-MA).

The House has voted to block action to address climate change, to stop actions to prevent air and water pollution, to undermine protections for public lands and coastal areas, and to weaken the protection of the environment in dozens of other ways.

"This is the most anti-environment House of Representatives in history," says Rep. Waxman, Ranking Democratic Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. "The new Republican majority seems intent on restoring the robber-baron era where there were no controls on pollution from power plants, oil refineries, and factories."

"President Theodore Roosevelt said, ‘A vote is like a rifle’ and House Republicans have one pointed right at the heart of America’s clean energy future," says Rep. Markey, Ranking Democratic Member of the House Natural Resources Committee. "Time after time, Republicans have voted to leave our air and water more polluted, keep our nation more dependent on foreign oil, despoil our National Parks, and deny that our climate has a rising fever. Republicans have spent their 206 days in the majority building a voting record against protecting Americans’ public health and increasing OPEC’s wealth. While House Republicans may not be able to agree on how to destroy our economy, they are in lock-step in their commitment to destroy our environment."

The House is currently debating H.R. 2584, the FY 2012 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, which some have called "the worst assault on clean air and water in history." The legislation contains 39 new anti-environment riders and slashes funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Interior. The votes on H.R. 2584 are not included in this latest analysis.

The Tally

20 votes block actions to address climate change.

These include votes to deny that climate change is occurring; to block EPA from regulating carbon emissions from power plants and oil refineries; to block EPA from regulating carbon emissions from motor vehicles, which also reduces oil imports; and even to eliminate requirements that large sources disclose the level of their carbon emissions.

22 votes to defund or repeal clean energy initiatives.

These include votes to overturn new, industry-supported energy efficiency standards for light bulbs; to cut funding for renewable energy projects; and to defund research into promising clean energy technologies.

28 votes block actions to prevent air and water pollution.

These include votes to block EPA from regulating mercury and other hazardous air pollutants emitted from cement plants; to relax emission requirements for offshore oil and gas activities; to stop EPA from establishing new water quality standards or enforcing existing ones; and to prevent EPA from protecting streams from the effects of mountaintop-removal mining.

27 votes to undermine protection for public lands and coastal areas.

These include votes to slash funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund; to require oil and gas leasing off of the East and West Coasts; and to waive requirements for environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for offshore oil and gas activities.

The Targets

Multiple federal agencies and statutes have been targets of anti-environment votes. Among federal agencies, the most common targets have been the Environmental Protection Agency (42 votes), the Department of Energy (24 votes) and Department of Interior (20 votes).

Among federal statutes, the most common targets have been to defund or roll back the Clean Air Act (26 votes), the Clean Water Act (16 votes), and NEPA (10 votes).

Anti-environment votes are highly partisan. Of the 110 anti-environment votes, 95 were roll-call votes. On average, 97% of Republicans voted for the anti-environment position. In contrast, 84% of Democrats voted for the pro-environment position.

The complete detailed listing of the anti-environment votes and the full fact sheet is available here.

Save the EPA Campaign

In a separate announcement, the American Federation of Government Employees National Council #238 of EPA Locals today launched its "Save the Environment-Save the EPA" campaign to bring attention to the dangerous impacts the draconian budget cuts proposed by Congress would have on the ability of the EPA to protect our nation’s human health and the environment.

In conjunction with the launch of this campaign, the Council  created a website (below), which highlights campaign issues and provides information on Council and congressional action.

"What is the point of cutting EPA’s budget today to reduce the federal deficit if the end result is more illness and death due to a short-sighted focus on costs with no consideration of the benefits of spending? Some people have forgotten that EPA’s budget protects future generations from the harmful effects previous and current generations have caused. We may have saved money today by cutting spending but our children and grandchildren ultimately will pay the price," says Council President Chuck Orzehoskie.

"The Council believes the American public needs to be educated about how EPA’s work is being undermined and to motivate them to speak out in favor of clean air and water, and against destroying the beauty of this great country," adds Orzehoskie. "To that end, we intend to conduct surveys of the American people on environmental issues to obtain their view of the importance of EPA, and focus on key funding cuts that will harm human health and our nation’s environment."

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Comments on “Votes Confirm Historic Anti-Environmentalism in House of Representatives, Campaign Launched to Save the EPA”

  1. Marjorie Marshall

    The air and water in this country is all ready making all ages dangerously sick. It’s time to wake up and face this problem directly.

  2. ibrahim Ali hussein

    Key concepts
    (a) Species diversity measurement and expression of is commonly based on two important components namely species richness and evenness
    (b) Biodiversity is a wider term that encompasses genetic diversity, species, sub-species, communities and ecosystems.
    (c) Conservation is the management of natural resources aimed at restoration and maintenance of balance between human demands and requirements of other species. Conservation can focus on individual species, ecosystems, biomes or even the biosphere.
    (d) Risk of extinction of species can be categorised into rare, vulnerable, endangered or extinct.
    (e) Destruction of habitats is the most important threat to biodiversity today
    (f) The savannah an important biome in Africa is largely used for pastoralism which has both positive and negative impacts but is clearly sustainable land use form.
    Threats to the intertidal marine communities of Africa are largely from over exploitation, human and industrial waste disposal and improper location of hotels, houses and other structures


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