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Dirty Denier$ Day 17: Congressman Rodney Davis

Rodney Davis

On climate change, Rep. Rodney Davis’ actions certainly speak louder than words.

We’ll give small bit of credit to the first-term congressman from Illinois’ 13th District for publicly acknowledging that “climate change is real.” He even added in a candidate questionnaire:

Many factors contribute to changes in climate, both man-made and natural. Regardless of your views on global warming, we should all agree that reducing our dependence on foreign oil and cutting air pollution without doing economic harm to our citizens will benefit our national security, environment and public health.

Ever hear the saying, talk is cheap? Rep. Davis hasn’t followed up his words with actions. In fact, he’s done just the opposite — voting at virtually every opportunity to block action on climate change.  Maybe he doesn’t want his constituents to know his voting record.

He supported the Whitfield bill to block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from issuing standards to control dangerous carbon pollution from power plants, the Cassidy veto bill giving other federal agencies power to overrule those EPA climate pollution limits, and the  REINS bill (of which he was a co-sponsor) to make it next to impossible to ever put in place any health or safety standards, regardless of the problem being addressed.

Davis also voted against the Schakowsky amendment  to recognize the scientific fact that greenhouse gas pollution is contributing to climate change. That’s outright climate denial.  And Davis voted for an amendment to prevent federal agencies from assessing the costs and dangers of climate change.

Rep. Davis’ record on reining in Big Oil is just as bad. He backed a giveaway to Big Oil, voted against federal restrictions on using dirty fuels, and voted to promote more offshore oil and gas drilling. For all this, he’s earned a deplorable 4 percent rating from the League of Conservation Voters.

But to be sure, one group likes this DirtyDenier$ lawmaker—the right-wing House GOP leadership, for he’s been a reliable champion of their radical anti-health and anti-environment agenda. In reward, the National Republican Congressional Campaign put him in its ‘Patriot Program’, intended to help him raise campaign cash, and his largest donations, $427,000, come from so-called Leadership PACs set up by congressional colleagues. Davis’ campaign also has taken in $92,500 from oil & gas interests, $90,500 from mining interests and $67,000 from utilities.

Our advice: Rep. Rodney Davis is far out of step with most Americans who want clean air, land, water and for the government to do something about climate change. And he needs to show some leadership by embracing his own words by taking action on climate change.


Dirty Denier$ Day 16: Congressman Henry Cuellar

Henry Cuellar

100% … 70% … 51% … 49% … 29% … That’s the sound of Rep. Henry Cuellar’s (D-TX) national score from the League of Conservation Voters plummeting over the last five years. Indeed, after scoring a perfect 100 percent in 2009, Rep. Cuellar scored just 29 percent in 2013.

That 29 percent score includes votes to block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) safeguards designed to protect public health and the environment from toxic coal ash and to stop the Department of the Interior from reducing methane emissions from oil and gas drilling operations on public lands. (Methane is a super pollutant with an impact on climate 20 times greater than carbon dioxide.)

On his official House website, Rep. Cuellar practically boasts about his 2014 vote to prohibit the EPA from taking ANY action or consideration of carbon pollution to address climate change, and to exclude carbon pollution from the definition of air pollutants. Yet back in 2009, Cuellar voted yes on the House bill to take action on climate change.

We did a little digging and found an interesting pattern. It turns out that while Rep. Cuellar’s pro-environment votes went way, way down, his contributions from the oil & gas industry went up – way, way up.

In 2006, Cuellar took in $52,100 from Big Oil, which was the 6th largest industry contributing to him. In 2008, the industry rose to being his 3rd largest source of contributions. In 2010 and 2012, it was the single largest source, giving him $96,375 and a whopping $117,700 in those two cycles respectively.  Polluters seem to be willing to reward dirty votes handsomely.

Our advice: Given that Texas is expected to face some of the more dire impacts of climate change than any other state in the country, we hope Rep. Cuellar will go back to standing up for action against climate change, even if it means losing out on cash from mega-polluting political donors.

DirtyDenier$ Day 15: Congressman Steve Daines

Steve Daines

Reading through Montana Rep. Steve Daines’ list of campaign contributors is like looking at a who’s who of dirty polluters. Daines, who is currently running for Senate, has received more than $240,000 in polluter contributions and the Koch Brothers’ are among his top two contributors. In fact, Daines and the Koch Brothers are so intertwined that Daines’ former campaign manager has just been hired to lead the new Montana office of the Koch-sponsored Americans for Prosperity.

The Kochs and their dirty energy allies have received a tremendous return on investment for their backing of Daines. Daines has been a reliable vote in favor of dirty energy interests and against addressing climate change and advancing clean energy. Daines sponsored H.R. 4850, which would block action on climate change by rewriting the Clean Air Act to prohibit EPA from limiting carbon pollution at new or existing coal-fired power plants. Daines has voted for legislation that would threaten Montana hunting, fishing and hiking on public lands by giving drilling a priority over these conservation uses, and he’d prefer to subsidize dirty fossil fuels than to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency. He has a dismal lifetime score of only 4 percent from the League of Conservation Voters.

Daines is also a true Dirty Denier when it comes to intentional ignorance on climate change. And while science tells us that Montana’s climate is already changing, Daines believes that “solar cycles” are causing climate change – a view discredited by the scientific data. He also, isn’t sure whether humans are causing climate change. It really seems like Daines has his fact and his fiction mixed up because he definitely believes there is a “War on Coal.”

Our advice: Daines should start thinking like his constituents, who support EPA limits on carbon pollution from power plants and who trust experts at EPA, not Congress, to set those rules. He ought to get himself out of the #DirtyDenier$ club.

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.