Saturday, October 10, 2015

Which 26 Democrats Just Voted for a Giveaway to Big Oil?

On Thursday, I wrote about how the House GOP found time amidst their leadership debacle to pass a bill expediting fracking on tribal lands.

In the same vein, yesterday, the House GOP found the time to pass a bill lifting the crude oil export ban.
The bill (H.R. 702) would repeal the Presidential authority to restrict exports of coal, petroleum products, natural gas, or petrochemical feedstocks under section 103 of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975. The bill also establishes a national policy on oil export restriction, preventing any official of the federal government from imposing or enforcing any restriction on the export of crude oil.

Elizabeth Warren criticized this bill at a recent Senate hearing:
The most obvious effect of lifting the crude oil export ban would be to produce enormous profits for a number of big oil companies...And that is a reason by itself to be skeptical of study after study and expert after expert that have been funded by big oil to try to sell this deal. ... Lifting the ban without thoroughly considering and addressing the potential environmental consequences sounds pretty darn reckless.
Rep. Frank Pallone (NJ-06), the ranking Democrat on the Energy & Commerce, has a thorough debunking of Republican claims about the bill here
The bill is bad for many reasons, one of the most important being the climate impact:
Maximizing U.S. oil production would exacerbate climate change and increase the risks to the land, water and air. According to a recent study, approximately one third of the world's remaining oil reserves and half of the remaining gas reserves should remain untouched over the next 40 years in order to prevent the global average temperature from rising more than 2+ C. An increase in oil production, consistent with unrestricted crude exports, would run counter to U.S. and global efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions and prevent catastrophic climate change.

Further, the drilling boom has outpaced the building of infrastructure necessary to control methane leaks from oil and gas wells leading to increased emissions of this potent greenhouse gas. The energy sector--including sources like natural gas and petroleum systems--is the largest source of U.S. methane emissions, accounting for 263.5 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent in 2013. The lack of infrastructure to capture the co-produced methane, combined with low natural gas prices, often makes it cheaper for industry to burn the gas rather than capture and process it. So an increase in oil production--for purposes of exportation--would likely result in significant increases in
uncontrolled greenhouse gas emissions.
The final vote was 261 to 159
6 Republicans joined Democrats in voting against it:

Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08)
Walter Jones (NC-03)
Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02)
Pat Meehan (PA-07)
Tom Rice (SC-07)
Chris Smith (NJ-04)

And 26 Democrats joined Republicans in voting for it:

Brad Ashford (NE-02)
Sanford Bishop (GA-02)
Tony Cardenas (CA-29)
Lacy Clay (MO-01)
Jim Cooper (TN-05)
Jim Costa (CA-16)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Gwen Graham (FL-02)
Jim Himes (CT-04)
Ruben Hinojosa (TX-15)
Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18)
Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01)
Dan Lipinski (IL-03)
Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01)
Sean Maloney (NY-18)
Beto O’Rourke (TX-16)
Ed Perlmutter (CO-07)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Cedric Richmond (LA-02)
Tim Ryan (OH-13)
Kurt Schrader (OR-05)
David Scott (GA-13)
Albio Sires (NJ-08)
Bennie Thompson (MS-02)
Marc Veasey (TX-33)
Filemona Vela (TX-34)

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