environment

Most GOP Climate Caucus Members Back Anti-Carbon Tax Measure

Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., pictured here, says his vote against a carbon tax is not inconsistent with his membership in the Climate Solutions Caucus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Only six of the more than 40 Republicans in the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus voted against a GOP resolution opposing a carbon tax policy Thursday.

The climate-conscious Republicans who voted for the resolution (H Con Res 119) had a ready reason for what might appear to be an inconsistent vote: They don’t favor the generic carbon tax that the measure frames.

The Great Outdoors Threatened by a Funding Battle
Congress is divided on reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund

Stony Man Trail, part of the Appalachian Trail, winds through Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The $887 billion outdoor recreational economy is a massive economic engine for rural areas. (Courtesy National Park Service)

Sen. Richard M. Burr’s sinking of the $14 billion rescissions package last month was not about saving the Energy Department loan guarantee program or children’s health care contingency funding — which represented the vast majority of the money on the chopping block.

The North Carolina Republican voted against the package because it would rescind $16 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund — which represented approximately 0.1 percent of all the funding in the bill.

In Reversal From 2016, Carlos Curbelo to Vote Against Anti-Carbon Tax Resolution
Scalise, author of resolution, admits goal is to put members on record

Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., said he will oppose an anti-carbon tax resolution the House is scheduled to vote on Friday, changing his position from 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republican leaders have scheduled a Thursday vote on an anti-carbon tax resolution in hopes of putting vulnerable Democrats on record in favor of the tax, but they’re going to put some of their own members in a tough spot too.

“I’m voting against that,” Florida GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo, said of the resolution, which expresses the sense of Congress that “a carbon tax would be detrimental to American families and businesses, and is not in the best interest of the United States.”

Former Coal Lobbyist Would Face a Fight if Tapped to Head EPA
Wheeler served as deputy to Scott Pruitt

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned amid a series of ethical scandals. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Fresh off a long fought victory to rid the EPA of the scandal-plagued Scott Pruitt, Democrats and environmental groups have already turned their attention to the next head of the agency that is charged with protecting the nation’s air and water.

And while Pruitt’s ethical lapses provided easy fodder for their effort to oppose the Trump administration’s environmental record, the new leadership at the EPA — for the time being, Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler — brings years of steady Washington experience to the position, making the upcoming battles more about policy than personality.

Trump Defends Pruitt Until the Very End
A look at the times when the president — and others — rallied behind the former EPA chief

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, here at a Senate hearing in May, is resigning after 16 months on the job. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Embattled EPA administrator Scott Pruitt turned in his resignation Thursday, but right until the very end, he could do no wrong in the eyes — or tweets — of President Donald Trump.

“Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this,” the president tweeted in his announcement that Pruitt was stepping down.

Senate Democrats: Interior Department Is Snubbing Us on Grant Delay Questions
Grant reviews are response to ‘litany‘ of abuses, senior Interior official says

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is delaying federal grants for increased scrutiny of the department’s financial assistance programs. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Democrats say the Interior Department is not answering questions about delays in the issuing of federal grants, a move they contend is holding up money used to fund conservation programs.

“DOI has yet to explain why it hired a high school football teammate of Secretary Zinke’s, who seems to have no relevant experience, to oversee the grant review process instead of improving financial management controls through department experts and career officials,” said Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, who led a group of 11 senators in the Democratic Conference in a June 12 letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke

Embattled Pruitt Out as EPA Chief
Senate now has another Cabinet post to process in an election year

Scott Pruitt testifies during his Senate Environment and Public Works Committee confirmation hearing in January 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is the latest Trump administration Cabinet official to be ousted or abruptly leave, after his resignation was accepted Thursday by President Donald Trump.

“Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this,” the president tweeted. 

Beyer, Lieu Request IG Investigation Into EPA’s Scott Pruitt Over Falsified Records
Administrator allegedly kept as many as three different calendars

Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic Reps. Don Beyer and Ted Lieu have requested an inspector general’s report on Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt after claims Pruitt intentionally scrubbed from his official calendar controversial meetings with leaders of industries his agency is supposed to regulate.

 

Former Rep. Heck, Who Lobbied for PETA, Kills Zebra on Safari
Heck left Congress after losing to Nevada Sen. Cortez-Masto in 2016

Former Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., posted a picture to Instagram of himself on safari in South Africa next to a dead zebra. (Photo from Instagram)

Former Rep. Joe Heck received criticism this week after he posted a picture on Instagram of himself posing next to a slain zebra with the caption, “Great start to safari — two off my list: Zebra and Black Wildebeast.”

But Heck’s apparent affinity for big-game hunting in South Africa didn’t just upset some in the public.

Forest Service Road Closures Impact Wildfires, Local Economies, Lawmakers Say
Members criticize closures, Forest Service not represented at panel

Hikers use a U.S. Forest Service road in the Cummings Creek Wilderness Area near Yachats Oregon. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers on an Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee said Tuesday that road closures by the Forest Service could be partially to blame for wildfires ravaging the western part of the country.

“In my state of Arizona, we’ve had catastrophic wildfires. Before these road closures we didn’t have these wildfires,” said Republican Rep. Paul Gosar.