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DirtyDenier$ Day 14: Pat Toomey

Pat Toomey

One look at Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey’s voting record in 2013 explains why he is the winner of our next Dirty Denier$ award. He voted against every piece of environmental legislation except one. This includes votes against disaster relief for Hurricane Sandy, military investments in biofuels, clean water protections, climate change safeguards, toxic air pollution from power plants—even the confirmation Gina McCarthy as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

To top off his dirty votes, Senator Toomey’s number one campaign contributor is the conservative Club for Growth, which has donated $865,283 to him. He served as the Club’s president after leaving the House of Representatives and before winning a seat in the Senate in 2010. The Club has a history of opposing action on climate change and wrongly asserting that climate action would impose tremendous costs on the American economy. He has also received $445,966 from the oil and gas industries.

He’s certainly continued to make the Club and his polluter donors happy.  Senator Toomey has earned a lifetime score of just 9 percent from the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and was named to their Dirty Dozen in 2010. In naming him to the Dirty Dozen, LCV cited his support for “dangerous oil drilling off of America’s coasts as well as in Lake Erie” and “his staunch opposition to comprehensive energy and climate legislation that creates jobs, reduces pollution and increases our national security a key part of his campaign.” It’s not just his voting record and campaign contributions from dirty polluters which show he’s a dirty denier, he’s said it himself. When running for Senate in 2010, Toomey said that the notion that humans are causing global warming is “very much disputed.”

Our advice: Get the facts, Senator Toomey. The science behind global warming isn’t in doubt. Get up to speed and start taking action. Otherwise, you might find your constituents taking action to elect someone who will.


#DirtyDenier$ Day 13: Congressman Tom Latham

Tom Latham

Congressman Tom Latham represents a large, windy district in Iowa. But unfortunately the winds of change don’t seem to have blown strongly enough to change his outdated views on energy and climate policy.

Latham  supports “an all of the above energy policy that utilizes responsible energy exploration and efficient uses of American sources of energy”. But his version of “all of the above” has meant promoting the agenda of dirty polluters rather than investing in renewable energy that Iowans support. He is also fighting to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from cleaning up carbon pollution from power plants and voting to block the Department of Interior from regulating dangerous methane gases that escape from oil and gas drilling operations.

On everything from letting toxic coal ash dirty our rivers and streams, to allowing offshore drilling, Latham has voted the wrong way almost every time. This is why he has a terrible lifetime score of 8 percent from the League of Conservation Voters, and only 4 percent for 2013. Rather than use his power to be an environmental champion he is using  his seat on the House Appropriations Committee, to negatively influence the outcome of many pieces of environmental legislation.

While Latham is not running for re-election in 2014, he has already raised over $1 million in this cycle which he can pass on to other #Dirty$Denier$ as the election nears, including Joni Ernst who is running for the open Iowa Senate seat. He was the highest recipient of funds from the Bluegrass Cmte PAC, affiliated with Sen. Mitch McConnell. And has also received $15,000 from John Boehner’s conservative Freedom Project and the Pioneer PAC, a conservative PAC supported by a number of dirty energy businesses and individuals. And while he has promised to refund some donations, with $871,499 still on hand, he has the power to spend big as Election Day nears.

Our advice: It is good news that retirement will take Rep. Latham and his dirty votes out of Congress. We only hope that as he enters private life he, works to promote Iowa’s growing wind industry rather than using his new-found free time to continue supporting outdated, dirty energy.

#DirtyDenier$ Day 12: Rob Portman

Rob Portman

Despite his easy smile, when it comes to energy and climate, Sen. Rob Portman is a conflicted man.

On the one hand, he’s a cosponsor of a bipartisan Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill. It would help people waste less energy by promoting energy efficiency measures for homes and businesses. It would move us toward cleaner sources of energy, clean energy technologies and help promote clean energy jobs.

On the other hand, Portman is a climate change denier who has fought efforts to address this growing environmental challenge. On climate change, Portman has said:  “When you analyze all the data, there is a warming trend according to science. But the jury is out on the degree of how much is manmade.” That’s not what scientists say; it’s Portman who’s trying to create a hung jury.

Portman’s record shows a pattern of anti-environment stances promoted by GOP leadership. He backed a measure to permanently block the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing any standards to limit greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.  He also voted to strip $60 million worth of funding for advanced biofuels in the Department of Defense budget, even with military installations in Ohio tasked with developing alternative fuels.

Furthermore, Portman’s a sponsor of the egregious Regulatory Accountability Act, which would make it next to impossible for the federal government to issue any new protections for the public, including those for health, safety and the environment.  Practically speaking, Portman’s support of this bill tells Ohioans to trust Congress with protecting vital necessities like their drinking water, rather than experts at the Environmental Protection Agency. I don’t know about you, but I know who I would trust before handing my child a glass of tap water.

During his Senate career, Portman has received $385,000 from oil and gas interests and $346,000 from political action committees known as leadership PACs set up by colleagues in Congress who support Republican candidates.

Our advice: Senator Portman should show some independence from the GOP leadership’s agenda to derail any federal action to reduce climate change. Ohioans deserve Portman to protect their health and represent their best interests, not dirty polluters.

#DirtyDenier$ Day 11: Congressman Mike Coffman

Mike Coffman

It’s no secret that Congress isn’t exactly popular with the American people. One reason for that is because what politicians say, and what politicians do, are often completely different things.

Let’s look at Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) for an example of this. Just last week in a debate he said, “I think we need to do everything we can…to bring down carbon.” And on his website, Rep. Coffman says:

There is no question that climate change is real and has existed since the beginning of time, and will always be a factor that can negatively impact our environment. The role that carbon emissions, from human activity, have on climate change is still a subject of debate. But what is clear is that we should do all that we can to reduce carbon emissions in order to improve the quality of our environment. However, we should do so under a balanced approach that considers the economic impact of the rate at which we reduce our carbon emissions.

While this clearly isn’t straightforward climate denialism; Coffman tries to obscure and blunt his key statement – that the role of human activity is “still a subject of debate” – which is a simply inaccurate statement; virtually all climate scientists think human activity is contributing to climate change.

Rep. Coffman isn’t willing to simply trumpet his denialism, probably because voters in Colorado (where Coffman represents a district of suburban Denver with an almost equal number of Republicans and Democrats) believe global warming is happening and are worried about it. In fact, according to a survey by Yale University, “more than half of Coloradans say that more should be done about global warming at all levels of government—from President Obama and Congress, to Governor Hickenlooper and the state legislature, to local government officials.”

Yet none of this matches up to Rep. Coffman’s voting record. He has a lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters of just 6 percent, and an even lower 2013 score of 4 percent. He voted to prevent the EPA from being able to limit carbon pollution from power plants, voted to slash funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency while boosting funding for dirty fossil fuel and nuclear generation technologies, and voted to prevent federal agencies from assessing the costs and dangers posed by climate change. And these are just three recent votes from 2014 – the history of anti-environmental votes goes back years.

Do Rep. Coffman’s constituents know about his extreme voting record? What we do know is that Big Oil and dirty polluters have taken note. They have rewarded him by donating $483,275to him since 2009. Individuals from the Oil and Gas industry have given more money to Rep. Coffman than all but 19 other members of Congress (out of 535 total) in 2014.

Our advice: We think Rep. Coffman should start voting for the things he says are important – “we should do all that we can to reduce carbon emissions” – and stop voting with the professional polluters and climate deniers.


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