UPDATE: This post has been updated to reflect the two new co-sponsors, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK), to the bill on May 20th, 2015.
Last week, a team of Senators supported by nearly $36 million in contributions from dirty polluters—and who have voted in favor of polluters over people 98 percent of the time—teed up yet another proposal to block much-needed efforts to protect the health of children and future generations from dangerous carbon pollution.
This newest pro-polluter proposal comes from Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) who introduced a bill that aims to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan by thrusting “multiple knives into the Clean Air Act,” as my colleague David Doniger explains.
The Clean Power Plan sets the first ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants and invests in clean energy sources and energy efficiency, while Sen. Capito’s bill protects the big polluters and lets them off the hook by:
- Rubbing out the Clean Power Plan altogether. The bill simply declares that the Clean Power Plan and its first-ever limits on carbon pollution “shall be of no force or effect, and shall be treated as though the rules had never been issued.” With admirable directness, the EPA proposals are simply disappeared. But that isn’t enough for Capito and her cronies. The bill also protects polluters by:
- Blocking the EPA’s proposed standard for new coal power plants while also effectively blocking EPA’s plans to regulate existing plants too.
- Forcing the EPA to choose between carbon standards and mercury standards, making them “pick their poison.”
- Tying up the Clean Power Plan with litigation for years, placing an unprecedented “stop work” order found nowhere else in the nation’s environmental or regulatory laws.
- Destroying the EPA’s authority to take action to protect our families and communities if states fail to act on their own by letting Governors “opt out,” and letting polluters off the hook.
And who else has their hands on the proverbial knife? Thirty other U.S. Senators joined Senator Capito to support these extremist attacks on public health.
We took a look at the records of Senator Capito and her bill’s co-sponsors using our website WhoVotesDirty.com, which tracks polluter contributions to members of Congress and their votes. Here’s what we found:
- Combined, the Senators backing Capito’s bill have taken $35,672,306 from polluters for their election campaigns.
- Among the top three recipients of polluter contributions among these Senators are Senator Mitch McConnell who has been flailing away at the carbon standards for months now, and Senator Jim “the Snowball” Inhofe who has promised to make this bill a central focus of his Senate Committee in the coming weeks.
- On average, each Senator has received nearly $1.3 million from dirty polluters each.
- Combined, these Senators have cast 470 dirty votes on 49 pieces of climate and clean air legislation and/or amendments in Congress since September 2011.
- These Senators have voted dirty 98 percent of the time they’ve had to choose between protecting polluters or public health.
Among other dirty bills, these lawmakers voted to block public health safeguards many, many times, to block all efforts to cut carbon pollution, to undermine science, and to block funding for climate change research.
Sen. Capito and her bill’s supporters aren’t looking out for the American public—they’re looking out for the Big Polluter Agenda and their own campaign coffers.
Americans want to carbon to be regulated. Poll after poll shows that that a bipartisan majority—70 percent of Americans—support the federal government limiting greenhouse gases from existing power plants, and 70 percent also support requiring states to limit the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in their borders (check out the most recent poll from the Washington Post.)
But these Senators think they can get away with taking dirty money from the deep-pocketed polluters and voting against clean air and protecting. They think their voters won’t notice them voting against the very policies Americans support.
You can help shine a spotlight on those lawmakers who are voting against the best interests of their constituents by going to WhoVotesDirty.com and tweeting at the Dirty Air Villains. Tell them to reject the Big Polluter Agenda and listen to the American people.
|Co-Sponsors / Sponsor||Dirty Money||Number of Dirty Votes||Percent of Dirty Votes|
|John Cornyn [R-TX]||$3,814,138||15||100%|
|Mitch McConnell [R-KY]||$3,229,136||15||100%|
|Jim Inhofe [R-OK]||$2,207,770||15||100%|
|David Vitter [R-LA]||$1,866,136||9||100%|
|Ted Cruz [R-TX]||$1,530,696||15||100%|
|Roy Blunt [R-MO]||$1,486,800||15||100%|
|Pat Roberts [R-KS]||$1,479,406||36||100%|
|Bill Cassidy [R-LA]||$1,432,970||14||93%|
|Lisa Murkowski [R-AK]||$1,370,624||14||100%|
|John Thune [R-SD]||$1,298,822||38||100%|
|Shelley Capito [R-WV]||$1,210,252||15||100%|
|Roger Wicker [R-MS]||$1,108,122||11||73%|
|Lamar Alexander [R-TN]||$1,093,632||15||100%|
|John Barrasso [R-WY]||$1,024,366||15||100%|
|Michael Enzi [R-WY]||$979,610||25||100%|
|Tom Cotton [R-AR]||$965,964||25||100%|
|Steve Daines [R-MT]||$626,916||15||100%|
|Daniel Coats [R-IN]||$625,198||15||100%|
|Michael Crapo [R-ID]||$611,674||15||100%|
|John Hoeven [R-ND]||$521,028||15||100%|
|Johnny Isakson [R-GA]||$512,500||12||80%|
|Joe Manchin [D-WV]||$379,100||15||100%|
|James Risch [R-ID]||$266,904||15||100%|
|John Boozman [R-AR]||$235,890||15||100%|
|Rand Paul [R-KY]||$212,640||10||100%|
|Deb Fischer [R-NE]||$50,900||9||100%|
|David Perdue [R-GA]||$50,900||9||100%|
|Mike Rounds [R-SD]||$50,900||9||100%|
|Thom Tillis [R-NC]||$50,900||9||100%|
|Dan Sullivan [R-AK]|
*NRDC Action Fund policy experts identify the votes that have the greatest impact or potential to impact clean air and climate policy. Members who vote against clean air 80 percent or more of the time are considered “Dirty Air Villains.” Those who vote to strengthen protections 80 percent or more of the time are considered “Clean Air Heroes.” All other members have no assigned status, but their dirty and clean percentages are listed