#DirtyDenier$ Day 10: Senator John Boozman

John Boozman

Arkansas Senator John Boozman may have done well as an optometrist before he was first elected to public office in 2000. But, when he shares his views on energy policy, it appears he needs to get his vision checked. His short-sighted plan for our nation’s energy mix would put America and the world on a path to a dangerous and dirty future.

Boozman clearly doesn’t understand the clear and present danger from climate change, nor grasp the economic opportunities of renewable energy. He has stated that acting to limit carbon pollution would “destroy our economy” and has signed the Koch Industries’ Americans for Prosperity No Climate Tax Pledge.

Boozman’s views echo those of oil and gas lobbying groups. The fossil fuel industry contributed $87,402 to his campaign since 2009. Those lobbyists for dirty industries must have been pleased with Boozman’s outspoken support for expanding offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to exploitation.

With seats on two key Senate environmental committees, Boozman is in a good position to push the oil and gas industry’s agenda. He has voted to continue subsidizing wealthy oil companies while also reducing their corporate income taxes. He is also currently pushing hard to block the EPA from reducing dangerous carbon pollution from power plants, even co-sponsoring a resolution to do so. His voting record reads like a hit list on the environment. That’s why his lifetime score with the League of Conservation Voters is a miserable 8 percent.

Our advice:  When four former EPA Administrators who served under Republican Presidents recently testified in his committee, Boozman’s laughable response got him a climate change eye exam on the Daily Show. Boozman should stop listening to oil and gas interests, and support policies that keep his constituents healthy and that move us toward clean, abundant renewable energy sources for our future.

 

 

 

#DirtyDenier$ Day 7: Congressman Leonard Lance

Leonard Lance

When it comes to environmental protections and addressing climate change, Congressman Leonard Lance is, in the words of Lewis Carroll, getting “curiouser and curiouser.”

Lance once had a respectable environmental record.  Not so long ago, in 2009, the New Jersey 7th District lawmaker helped pass the American Clean Energy and Security Act, a bill that would have limited carbon pollution from power plants. Back then, Lance earned a 71 percent rating from the League of Conservation Voters for supporting key environmental measures, placing him squarely in the moderate wing of the GOP, which has since has gone the way of the dodo.

And Congressman Lance? Nowadays, he’s become a consistent supporter of the GOP leadership’s far-right agenda to weaken public health safeguards for our air, land, water and climate, and that’s why he’s landed on the Daily Dirty Denier$ list.

Lance backed a bill to block the Environmental Protection Agency from using the Clean Air Act to limit power plant carbon pollution, a bill empowering other agencies to stop EPA action on climate, a bill making it next to impossible to create any new public safeguards in any area, and he opposed a bill affirming the scientific findings of climate change.

He voted for amendments by House GOP colleagues Reps. Murphy, Lankford, and McKinley disavowing the costs of climate change.

The new (but certainly not improved) Rep. Lance isn’t shy about his conservative makeover. He’s backed the major budget plans proposed by GOP Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan that would drastically cut environmental protections. Not surprisingly his League of Conservation Voters rating plummeted to 21 percent in 2013 and will be kept low by his anti-environment votes this year.

Among his major campaign donors has been the Every Republican is Crucial PAC, a political action committee headed by the right-wing former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

Our advice: Lance should get back in line with his district, and the majority in the nation, by favoring strong federal environmental safeguards and taking action against the growing threat of climate change.

 

#DirtyDenier$ Day 6: Scott Brown

Scott Brown

In 2012, Massachusetts voters decided they didn’t like Senator Scott Brown’s loyalty to Big Oil and they voted him out of the Senate. This year, he’s back, but in New Hampshire, where he is trying to unseat Senator Jeanne Shaheen.

In May 2011, Senator Brown voted to protect billions in taxpayer subsidies to oil companies even though they were enjoying record profits. It was later revealed through FEC records that just two weeks before the vote, he had accepted contributions from Exxon, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips. In March 2012, Senator Brown again voted against ending the subsidies. Over his career, he has accepted $454,000 from the Oil and Gas industry. To put that in perspective, in 2012, Senator Brown received more money from the Oil and Gas industry than all but five other members of Congress (and more than all but two other Senators).

Not only did Senator Brown vote in May 2011 to keep giving billions of dollars to oil companies instead of using that money to reduce the deficit or invest in renewable energy, he also voted to weaken the oversight standards of offshore drilling operations. This was after the tragic 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, and would have weakened oversight even beyond what was in place during that catastrophe.

When Senator Brown tried to explain away these unpopular pro-oil votes, he claimed (incorrectly) that “oil companies don’t get subsidies.” Our friends at the League of Conservation Voters explained why that is completely false.

That record is far out of line with what Granite Staters want in a Senator. Many voters in New Hampshire are aware of Senator Brown’s record in the Senate, and according to a July Marist poll, he has a very divided favorable/unfavorable rating (38 to 37 percent). Also, a majority of New Hampshire adults (53 percent) and two-thirds of adults under age 30 support limits on power plant emission of greenhouse gases that cause global warming, even if utility costs are passed down to consumers. In his last bid for the Senate, Brown said he believes climate change is real, but would not support efforts by the EPA to reduce dangerous carbon emissions.

The Koch Brothers and their Big Oil allies know that electing Scott Brown in New Hampshire is an uphill battle, and that’s why they’ve already bought ad time for the month of September to the tune of $1.2 million on one New Hampshire television station alone. It’s a safe bet that this is only the tip of the iceberg of Big Oil’s effort to buy a Senate seat (again) for Scott Brown.

Our advice: It’s time for Scott Brown to stop shopping for a Senate seat with dirty polluters’ credit cards.

#DirtyDenier$ Day 5: Congressman John M. Shimkus

John Shimkus

Why is Congressman John Shimkus smiling? Maybe it’s because over the course of his career he has raised more than $500,000 from the oil and gas industry. These dirty polluters account for one of the top five industries contributing to his campaign war chest.

It’s not just dirty money that earns Congressman Shimkus today’s Dirty Denier award, it’s his opposition to reducing dangerous carbon pollution. With the ink barely dry on the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, he issued the following statement: “Without a doubt, this new front in the War on Coal will raise electricity rates – especially in the Midwest – and cost hundreds of thousands of good paying jobs nationwide. This rule will be all pain and no gain for American energy consumers and job seekers.”

As a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and chairman of its subcommittee on environment and the economy, Shimkus is helping lead the legislative agenda of polluters. He has co-sponsored bills to expand drilling and legislation supported by FredomWorks that would allow coal companies to dump pollution into our water. No wonder he has a lifetime score of 7 percent with the League of Conservation Voters.

On top of the dirty votes, Shimkus also has a number of unscientific thoughts on climate change. Here’s one statement: “When we breathe in, we breathe oxygen. When we breathe out, we breathe out carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is not a toxic emittent.” And another: If we decrease the use of carbon dioxide are we not taking away plant food from the atmosphere?”

Our advice: We wished Shimkus cared enough to dump his dirty votes and campaign contributions and unscientific theories in favor of protecting the whole earth.

#DirtyDenier$ Day 4: Congressman Cory Gardner

Cory Gardner

Why is Congressman Cory Gardner smiling? Maybe it’s because in just four years in Congress, he has raised $695,000 from dirty polluters from the oil and gas industry, who happen to be the largest source of his contributions. In addition, the oil billionaire Koch Brothers have already spent several million dollars, separate from Gardner’s own campaign operation, trying to help him unseat climate champion Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO). This includes  $1 million in March to buy television ads; a portion of a $1.1 million ad buy in April, plus two more ad buys totaling $550,000 in May.

It’s not hard to figure out why the Koch brothers would want Gardner in the Senate. In 2012, he was the lead sponsor in the House of a bill that was a total giveaway to oil and gas companies. He has repeatedly voted to protect taxpayer subsidies for highly profitable oil companies. And Gardner is leading the charge trying to make sure government doesn’t act on climate change.

Gardner’s dirty votes and fossil-fueled campaign chest easily place him on the Daily Dirty Denier$ list. Don’t believe us? Here’s what he has to say about climate change, “I don’t believe humans are causing that change to the extent that’s been in the news.” To top it all off he voted to deny the EPA’s scientific findings that industrial carbon pollution threatens the health and well-being of Americans.

Gardner’s dirty denier ways landed him on the League of Conservation Voters Dirty Dozen list and are totally out of step with Colorado voters.  In fact our battleground polling, which included Colorado, showed that 69 percent of voters in those states favor an EPA plan to address climate change that aims to reduce dangerous carbon pollution.

Our advice: now is the time for Gardner to get in step with Colorado voters and support action on climate change. It would also be refreshing if he stopped raking in cash from the Koch brothers and their polluter allies.