search
Sections List
American Journal News

The GOP's extreme bills: Undermining the climate and environment

Republicans in Congress want to repeal investments in climate change infrastructure, weaken environmental laws, and reprioritize fossil fuels.

By Josh Israel - March 14, 2023
Share
A young person holds a sign during a Fridays for Future protest near the White House in Washington, D.C. on March 3, 2023, demanding the transition away from fossil fuel usage and systemic changes at the community level to deal with climate change.
A young person holds a sign during a Fridays for Future protest near the White House in Washington, D.C. on March 3, 2023, demanding the transition away from fossil fuel usage and systemic changes at the community level to deal with climate change. (Photo by Bryan Olin Dozier/NurPhoto via AP)

Two months into the 118th Congress, Republican lawmakers have introduced dozens of bills aimed at undermining environmental protections; canceling spending on climate change infrastructure; and spurring increased oil, gas, and coal drilling.

The Republican majorities on the House Committees on Natural Resources and Energy and Commerce advanced an array of anti-environmental bills on March 9, including proposals to allow more fossil fuel drilling offshore and on public land and more fossil fuel pipelines. Republicans on both committees have publicly questioned climate science.

One of the bills, Natural Resources Committee Chair Bruce Westerman’s Transparency, Accountability, Permitting and Production of (TAPP) American Resources Act, would make it easier for energy companies to get permits for pipelines and for oil, gas and coal drilling.

Westerman (R-AR) has voted against protecting the environment 96% of the time over the course of his career, according to the League of Conservation Voters. In May 2015, he falsely claimed there was an ongoing debate about whether carbon pollution is the main force driving climate change. According to OpenSecrets, he has taken more than $430,000 in campaign donations from the oil and gas industry since 2014.

Other bills would prohibit any moratoriums on fracking, repeal a federal tax on natural gas, and overturn the Biden administration’s cancellation of permits for the dangerous Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline.

An AP-NORC poll published in October 2022 found that 62% of American adults believe the federal government is doing too little to curb climate change.

While most of the bills introduced by the House Republicans are unlikely to become law with a Democratic-controlled Senate and President Joe Biden in the White House, Natural Resources Defense Council senior advocate Josh Axelrod told the American Independent Foundation they show that the party is not serious about protecting the climate: “These bills tell you what their priorities are, and also who they’re willing to listen to in terms of ideas. I mean, these bills are written by the most extreme members of the energy industry, it would appear, because they’re just so focused on boosting fossil fuels above everything.”

Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers touted those and other anti-environmental bills on March 9, saying, “Our goal today is to celebrate how our abundant energy resources have unleashed prosperity and invited people from across the globe to come to America to achieve their hopes and dreams. … We cannot afford to move backwards with a reckless command-and-control so-called climate agenda that forces people to pay more and go without reliable energy.”

McMorris Rodgers, a Republican from Washington state, has received about $950,000 in campaign cash from the oil and gas industry and voted to protect the environment just 5% of the time, according to the League of Conservation Voters.

In a Feb. 27 letter to McMorris Rodgers and others on her committee, 90 environmental groups, including Earthjustice, Greenpeace USA, the League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Sierra Club, opposed seven of the GOP’s proposals:

This proposed legislation would exacerbate the climate crisis, perpetuate environmental injustices, and undermine US economic and national security by prolonging reliance on risky and volatile energy sources.

 

These bills would encourage new fossil fuel production and infrastructure, despite the scientific consensus that there is no room for investment in new fossil fuel production if we are to reach net zero by 2050, keeping the world on a 1.5°C compatible pathway. The bills would also undermine bedrock environmental laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by short-circuiting permitting processes and limiting public input.

House Republicans plan to package bills advanced by the two committees as H.R. 1, the Lower Energy Costs Act. Majority Leader Steve Scalise said in a press release published on March 9 that he will bring the bill to the House floor for a vote in the last week of the month.

“With the introduction of the Lower Energy Costs Act, we will put a stop to the war on American energy, become energy independent again, and lower costs for families who are struggling,” Scalise (R-LA) said.

America Fitzpatrick, conservation program director at the League of Conservation Voters, told the American Independent Foundation that the designation of the bill as H.R. 1 — a number typically reserved for the top priority of the majority party — has huge symbolic significance and is an “indication of what a priority it is for Republicans to be advancing benefits to the oil and gas industry, in a time where they have record profits and price gouging Americans at the pump.”

“These proposals would really be locking us into just decades of dirty, volatile fossil fuels and really kind of perpetuate the environmental injustices that have already occurred, particularly to front-line and marginalized communities,” Fitzpatrick warned. “I think it’s clear these are giveaways to their oil and gas industry friends.”

A bill proposed by Tennessee Rep. Andrew Ogles and 22 other House Republicans would repeal the entire 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, which included a historic $369 billion investment in new energy and climate change infrastructure funding.

Axelrod said the GOP bills are “not a good start if avoiding the worst effects of climate change is the goal.”

“People want economic security, energy security, but prioritizing fossil fuels is not going to bring that, and it’s obviously going to make this overarching problem of climate change worse,” he observed. “And that is the problem that, you know, a vast majority of people recognize as something that needs to be taken seriously and addressed. And this is the opposite of serious.”

Already in the current Congress, the House has voted to repeal the Biden administration’s Waters of the United States regulations, which protect thousands of waterways under the Clean Water Act, and to pass the Strategic Production Response Act, which would require a plan for more fossil fuel drilling before any president could tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in the future for nonemergency purposes.

Meanwhile, Republicans in both chambers — with just one Democratic vote in the House and two Democratic votes in the Senate — backed repeal of a Labor Department regulation that permits retirement funds to take factors like climate change and social responsibility into account when assessing the long-term value of the businesses in which they invest. The White House has promised that Biden will veto the bill

Environmentalists see the Republican lawmakers’ efforts as dangerous to everyone.

“One way a colleague described it as, this is about taking us back to the 1920s. But if we think about the pollution in our cities in the ’70s, or the state of our water, our rivers at the time the Cuyahoga was on fire and led to the Clean Water Act, they’re rolling back,” Axelrod said. “There’s the potential for just this kind of massive reversion back to the era that gave birth to environmental laws, because the environment was such a mess at that time.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


Read More
AJ News
Latest
Ted Cruz leverages Trump conviction on podcast for own personal gain

Ted Cruz leverages Trump conviction on podcast for own personal gain

By Jesse Valentine - June 11, 2024
Arizona Republican Kari Lake proposes massive cuts to Medicaid and Medicare

Arizona Republican Kari Lake proposes massive cuts to Medicaid and Medicare

By Jesse Valentine - June 10, 2024
Virginia U.S. Senate candidate Hung Cao says workplace diversity is ‘Marxism’

Virginia U.S. Senate candidate Hung Cao says workplace diversity is ‘Marxism’

By Jesse Valentine - June 06, 2024
Republican Bernie Moreno’s rags-to-riches story exposed as a lie

Republican Bernie Moreno’s rags-to-riches story exposed as a lie

By Jesse Valentine - May 24, 2024
What happens to clinics after a state bans abortion? They fight to survive.

What happens to clinics after a state bans abortion? They fight to survive.

By Chabeli Carrazana and Shefali Luthra - May 22, 2024
Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte took job at Caterpillar after tax fraud probe

Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte took job at Caterpillar after tax fraud probe

By Jesse Valentine - May 21, 2024
Alabama OB-GYN residencies dropped over 20% after Dobbs, state abortion ban, says analysis

Alabama OB-GYN residencies dropped over 20% after Dobbs, state abortion ban, says analysis

By Alander Rocha, Alabama Reflector - May 21, 2024
House GOP celebrates National Police Week while pushing to defund local law enforcement

House GOP celebrates National Police Week while pushing to defund local law enforcement

By Jesse Valentine - May 16, 2024
Evolution denier Mark Robinson could reshape North Carolina’s education system

Evolution denier Mark Robinson could reshape North Carolina’s education system

By Jesse Valentine - May 16, 2024
Republican Jay Ashcroft backs anti-abortion clinics that push lies and disinformation

Republican Jay Ashcroft backs anti-abortion clinics that push lies and disinformation

By Jesse Valentine - May 14, 2024
Republican Sam Brown’s assault on teacher unions could backfire

Republican Sam Brown’s assault on teacher unions could backfire

By Jesse Valentine - May 09, 2024
Florida abortion ban puts GOP Rep. Anna Paulina Luna’s anti-choice views in spotlight

Florida abortion ban puts GOP Rep. Anna Paulina Luna’s anti-choice views in spotlight

By Jesse Valentine - May 07, 2024
Trump leaves door open to banning medication abortion nationwide

Trump leaves door open to banning medication abortion nationwide

By Jennifer Shutt, States Newsroom - April 30, 2024
Republican Caroleene Dobson wants Alabama abortion ban to go nationwide

Republican Caroleene Dobson wants Alabama abortion ban to go nationwide

By Jesse Valentine - April 30, 2024
Ohio Gov. DeWine said he didn’t know of millions in FirstEnergy support. Is it plausible?

Ohio Gov. DeWine said he didn’t know of millions in FirstEnergy support. Is it plausible?

By Marty Schladen, Ohio Capital Journal - April 29, 2024
GOP Rep. Zach Nunn suggests laws against hate crime aren’t needed

GOP Rep. Zach Nunn suggests laws against hate crime aren’t needed

By Jesse Valentine - April 15, 2024
GOP Senate candidate Hung Cao blames racial equity for Baltimore bridge tragedy

GOP Senate candidate Hung Cao blames racial equity for Baltimore bridge tragedy

By Jesse Valentine - March 29, 2024
GOP Rep. Jennifer Kiggans donates thousands to far-right extremists

GOP Rep. Jennifer Kiggans donates thousands to far-right extremists

By Jesse Valentine - March 08, 2024
Ohio senate candidate Bernie Moreno: “Absolute pro-life no exceptions.”

Ohio senate candidate Bernie Moreno: “Absolute pro-life no exceptions.”

By Jesse Valentine - March 07, 2024
Anti-China Republicans pocket thousands from Chinese owned conglomerate

Anti-China Republicans pocket thousands from Chinese owned conglomerate

By Jesse Valentine - March 04, 2024
Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

By Jesse Valentine - February 26, 2024
Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

By Jesse Valentine - February 09, 2024
Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

By Annmarie Timmins, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 31, 2024
UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom - January 24, 2024
Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

By Jesse Valentine - January 17, 2024
A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

By Bonnie Fuller - January 10, 2024
Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - January 08, 2024
How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

By Jesse Valentine - January 05, 2024
NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

By Ethan DeWitt, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 04, 2024
Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

By Jesse Valentine - December 22, 2023
Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

By - December 15, 2023
Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

By Jesse Valentine - December 08, 2023
Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

By Jesse Valentine - December 07, 2023
Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

By Anna Liz Nichols, Michigan Advance - December 06, 2023
105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

By Jesse Valentine - December 05, 2023
For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - December 04, 2023
Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - November 30, 2023
Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

By Jesse Valentine - November 06, 2023
Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

By Jesse Valentine - November 03, 2023
Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

By Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today - October 24, 2023
Whitmer creates task force aiming to prevent gun violence in Michigan

Whitmer creates task force aiming to prevent gun violence in Michigan

By Jon King, Michigan Advance - June 20, 2024
Emergency care for pregnant women at stake in Supreme Court case, Missouri doctor warns

Emergency care for pregnant women at stake in Supreme Court case, Missouri doctor warns

By Anna Spoerre, Missouri Independent - June 18, 2024
In Grand Rapids, DeVos declines to say whether she’ll endorse Trump

In Grand Rapids, DeVos declines to say whether she’ll endorse Trump

By Kyle Davidson, Michigan Advance - June 18, 2024
Michigan Republican Mike Rogers worked for organization that threatened privacy rights

Michigan Republican Mike Rogers worked for organization that threatened privacy rights

By Jesse Valentine - June 18, 2024
Nevada Republican Sam Brown has ties to extremist who compared abortion to slavery

Nevada Republican Sam Brown has ties to extremist who compared abortion to slavery

By Jesse Valentine - June 18, 2024
U.S. Supreme Court overturns ban on bump stocks used in Las Vegas mass shooting

U.S. Supreme Court overturns ban on bump stocks used in Las Vegas mass shooting

By Ariana Figueroa, Pennsylvania Capital Star - June 14, 2024