As you probably know, Republicans are widely expected to keep their majority in the House (due to redistricting) and could take control of the Senate this November (because Democrats tend not to vote in mid-terms and the seats up for grabs are mostly in Red states).
As a reminder of the Republican agenda, here’s the energy package the House votes on this week:
- Northern Route Approval Act: approve the Keystone XL pipeline
- increase oil and natural gas drilling
- speed up natural gas exports by approving LNG plants
- weaken regulations on coal mining and fracking
- block EPA regulations on new and existing power plants
While House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) says the policies will "encourage an American energy revolution," to us it means taking lots of steps backward, instead of moving forward toward much greater energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Besides, where aren’t we drilling right now? Obama has opened more of the Gulf than ever before, has OK’d Arctic drilling and exploratory drilling off the Atlantic coast. Not to mention the tens of thousands of fracking wells across the US since he took office. He’s also continued to offer the coal that’s under federal lands in Wyoming. The US currently produces 84% of our fossil fuels right here at home.
Credit: Center for American Progress as of 2012
This week, House Republicans in the Science, Space, and Technology Committee (chaired by a creationist) will begin hearings on President Obama’s climate plan.
"The outcome of the 2014 races could have a major impact on the air we breathe, the health of our families, and the intensity of the climate change outside our doors," says the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund, which tracks campaign contributions to those who will cut environmental regulations and misinform on climate change.
Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who would become the Majority Leader has taken in $3.6 million from the fossil fuel industry and has a 7% (out of 100%) score from the League of Conservation Voters.
Republicans’ First 100 Days
In anticipation of winning control of the Senate, Republicans have outlined plans for the first 100 days.
Topping their list are approving the Keystone pipeline, approving "fast-track" authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, forbidding proposed environmental regulations and repealing the tax on medical devices that funds much of the Affordable Care Act. Their 2015 budget severely cuts funding for the Department of Energy (and renewable energy) and EPA and hamstrings the Endangered Species Act.
Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) calls the budget, "Koch-topia."
If they get elected, 13 new representatives will join seven in Congress who want federal lands turned over to the states or sold to corporate interests for drilling, mining, and logging. Of course, it’s high on ALEC’s agenda.
A map developed by the Center for American Progress shows which states they are in as well as the top three most visited public lands in each and how much revenue they generate in tourism.
In Utah, for example, say goodbye to Zion National Park and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and a total of $12 billion in revenue. Check it out: