Connolly cites James Hansen as reason for Energy votes
Date: April 27, 2012 11:39PM
This letter is so intriguing that it deserves its own thread.
We are more than one year into the most unprecedented assault on the environment in Congressional history. This Congress has tried to pass 191 anti-environment bills, riders, and amendments attacking the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and other foundational statutes.
The most recent bill passed by the House included a controversial rider to exempt the Keystone XL pipeline from environmental review and require the President to approve it within 90 days unless he finds that it isn’t in the national interest. NASA scientist James Hansen has said that this pipeline would be “game over” for the climate, as it would allow for a dramatic increase in production of tar sands oil which has even higher greenhouse gas emissions than traditional oil.
Pipeline proponents claim that it will increase domestic supplies of oil, but the developer, TransCanada, acknowledges in its application that the pipeline would increase oil prices in America by allowing the tar sands oil to be exported from America. In response to my questioning at a House hearing on the pipeline, an oil industry representative confirmed that the oil would be produced for the “world market” and that the oil industry would not accept limiting oil production for domestic consumption.
Sadly, the Keystone rider was but the latest anti-environment bill passed by the House. Just a few weeks before, the House passed the “Regulatory Accountability Act” (RAA) and “Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny” (REINS) Act. These bills would make it impossible for the EPA or other federal agencies to issue regulations in accordance with laws passed by Congress. REINS and RAA would block future Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and other environmental protections, as well as regulations promulgated under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act.
Prior to these sweeping laws, the House passed individual bills to block mercury, smog, arsenic, lead, and particulate air pollution. The House also voted to block Clean Water Act regulations for mountaintop removal and even voted to block restoration of the Chesapeake Bay.
As co-chairman of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Caucus, I have joined with other members to fight these anti-environmental bills tooth and nail. We have had some success. For example, we blocked the initial Interior and Environment Appropriations bill which contained 39 anti-environmental riders. We also were successful in defeating nearly all riders in a series of Continuing Resolutions and Omnibus spending bills. More recently, in response to an outcry from transit advocates and environmentalists, the Speaker abandoned efforts to pass H.R. 7, which would have eliminated all dedicated funding for mass transit and would have eviscerated the National Environmental Policy Act.
I look forward to our continued collaboration in the coming year. Thank you for your efforts to defend America’s natural spaces and resources for the next generation.
Gerald E. Connolly
Member of Congress
11th District of Virginia