CREDIT: AP Photo/Molly Riley
Environmentally speaking, 2013 was a bad year for the House of Representatives.
That’s the message of a new report from Henry Waxman (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. The report cataloged the 2013 environmental and energy votes of the House in the 113th Congress, and found that in one year, the House voted in favor of anti-environment positions 109 times — a statistic that shows the 113th Congress is following close on the heels of the 112th, which was dubbed by Waxman and Ed Markey (D-MA) as the most anti-environment House of Representatives in history.
The findings of Waxman’s 2013 report on the House include:
51: Number of times House members voted to “protect the interests of the oil and gas industry at the expense of the environment and human health,” including voting multiple times to fast-track the approval process of the Keystone XL pipeline. The House also voted to ramp up drilling on public lands, including passing a bill that would have imposed a $5000 fee for citizens who wanted to protest a proposed drilling project and made it much easier for oil and gas companies to obtain permits for drilling on public lands.
20: Number of times House members voted to weaken the Clean Air Act, with another 20 votes to block or hinder federal carbon emissions regulations (11 of these votes overlapped). In August, for instance, the House took aim at the EPA’s ability to weigh the “social cost of carbon” when developing regulations, voting 234-178 for an amendment that would prevent the agency from factoring the social cost of carbon into rules.
27: Number of times House members voted to cut clean energy and energy efficiency funding and block clean energy policies, including passing a bill that would have cut federal investments in renewable energy by nearly a billion dollars.
37: Number of times House members voted to weaken the Clean Water Act and other regulatory efforts to improve water quality, including voting three times to block federal agencies from using their money to implement the National Ocean Policy.
The scale of anti-environment votes in the 113th Congress isn’t totally surprising — 160 representatives from the 113th Congress have accepted more than $55.5 million from the fossil fuel industry, and 56 percent of the Republican caucus in 2013’s House of Representatives deny the reality of climate change.