Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Which 5 Democrats Just Voted to Gut Marine Conservation Laws?

After returning from their Memorial Day recess, the Republican House got back to doing one of its favorite things: inflicting damage on the environment.

On Monday, this took the form of the "Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act," a bill designed to deregulate fishing and open the door to the danger of overfishing.

Here's a summary of the bill:
This bill would reauthorize, as well as amend the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). Originally enacted in 1976, the goals of the MSA were to end unregulated fishing by foreign fleets in U.S. waters as well as develop domestic fleets that could reap the economic benefit of our considerable fishery resources.  The Act was reauthorized, with key improvements and on a bipartisan basis, in 1996 and 2007.
This bill, however, would roll back a number of those improvements – exposing fish stocks in our nation’s waters to overfishing.  It creates exemptions for annual catch limits for potentially hundreds of species, including some that may be overfished or subject to overfishing; exempts federal fishery management plans from the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA); and changes the definition of “overfished” – making it less likely for a species to be identified as depleted.  Further, it makes a number of other dangerous changes, including the elimination of the requirement that stocks identified as depleted be rebuilt as quickly as possible and allowing “factors outside of fishing” or “unusual events” causing depletion to be cited as a reason to continue to allow overfishing – instead of a reason to stop it.
Raul Grijalva (AZ-03) spoke on the dangers of the bill:
“Instead of working with us to craft thoughtful, targeted legislation to update Magnuson, Republicans have taken this as an opportunity to assault bedrock conservation laws while at the same time taking us back to fisheries management policies that we have known have failed fishing communities in the past."
The vote was 225 to 152.

220 Republicans and 5 Democrats voted for it. 149 Democrats and 3 Republicans voted against it.

Here are the 3 Republicans:

Chris Gibson (NY-19)
Richard Hanna (NY-22)
Randy Weber (TX-14)
Here are the 5 Democrats:
Joe Courtney (CT-02)
Bill Keating (MA-09)
Stephen Lynch (MA-08)
Seth Moulton (MA-06)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)

Debbie Dingell (MI-12) offered an amendment to strike the bill’s requirement that environmental reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) be fast-tracked.

It failed 155 to 223.

The vote was mostly party line. The sole exception was Democrat Collin Peterson (MN-07), who voted with the Republicans.

Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) offered an amendment to allow the National Ocean Council, operating under Executive Order 13547, to develop a process for decommissioning oil and gas rigs that eliminates harm to the red snapper stock and improves habitat.

It failed 149 to 227.

5 Democrats voted with Republicans against it:

Brad Ashford (NE-02)
Jim Costa (CA-16)
Ed Perlmutter (CO-07)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09)

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