Friday, October 9, 2015

Which 11 Democrats Just Voted to Expedite Fracking on Tribal Lands?

House Republicans were in disarray today, but they still found time to do one of the things they love most: gut environmental regulations.

Today, that came in the form of the Native American Energy Act:
H.R. 538 seeks to foster energy development on Native American tribal lands by authorizing expedited review and consideration of energy projects or appraisals, which in turn will lead to less environmental protection, public involvement, and regulatory oversight. H.R. 538 would deem an appraisal approved if the Department of the Interior fails to respond within sixty days.

H.R. 538 will also amend the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to limit review of an environmental impact statement for projects on Native American tribal lands to only tribal members and individuals residing within an undefined “affected area.” The language in H.R. 538 is so broadly written that there are no specifics on what an affected area would include and this provision could potentially apply to additional projects such as mining contracts, proposed water development projects, construction of solid waste facilities, construction of tribal casinos, and non-tribal partner projects that are located on Indian lands.  
H.R. 538 weakens environmental justice protections by making it extremely difficult for members of the public to challenge energy projects by preventing the recovery of attorney’s fees for their claims and potentially making the plaintiff responsible for the defendant’s attorney fees and costs.
Lastly, H.R. 538 contains a provision that would exempt tribal land from the Department of the Interior’s regulations on hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.”
It passed 254 to 173

One Republican--Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02)--voted against it.

11 Democrats voted for it:

Brad Ashford (NE-02)
Sanford Bishop (GA-02)
Corrine Brown (FL-05)
Jim Cooper (TN-05)
Jim Costa (CA-16)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Gene Green (TX-29)
Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Kurt Schrader (OR-05)
Filemon Vela (TX-34)

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