By TONI ELLINGTON
Following the mid-term victories of Republicans in the House and the Senate in November, lobbyists for the oil, gas, and coal industries are increasing efforts and pressure on legislators to take steps to overturn environmental rulemaking by the Obama administration, especially in the area of climate control. Oil, gas, and coal interests who spent millions on the election to help elect Republicans made their pitch in meetings this week at a summit of the American Legislative Exchange Council.
According to the Washington Post, lobbyists and legislators are considering several model bills for introduction next year. The bills are designed to give states more power to block or delay new environmental standards, including limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Members of the group also expressed anger at the EPA and vowed to make the EPA a target, perhaps even by denying funding to the EPA.
Senator James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma., sent a letter demanding that the EPA withdraw the new greenhouse gas limits on power plants. Senator Inhofe is known as a vocal denier of climate change. In addition, after the November elections, the group Americans for Prosperity began an advertising campaign in a number of House districts, pressuring Republican lawmakers to oppose tax breaks for wind energy firms. Americans for Prosperity is a group of fossil fuel allies which includes David and Charles Koch of Koch Industries.
In response to these activities, chief executives of national environmental groups met last week in Washington, D.C. to plan their response to what is being called “the assault” by the fossil fuel industry. According to Senator Barbara Boxer, D-California, who is losing her chairmanship of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to Senator Inhofe, the committee “is now dominated by deniers on climate and very strong allies of the polluters.”
For updates on environmental battles in the legislature, stay tuned to this blog, or contact Toni Ellington at (504) 599-8500.