How Green Did They Vote?

Safeguarding children's health

Jan. 24 - H.R. 5, the "unfunded mandates" bill/Maloney amendment. As considered by the House, H.R. 5 would erect new procedural hurdles before Congress could pass legislation to create national standards (such as reducing chemicals or bacteria in water supplies) if the total cost would exceed $50 million and if state or local governments were expected to implement the legislation without full federal funding.

The bill exempted certain programs, such as those relating to national defense or civil rights, from the new hurdles.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) offered an amendment to add legislation protecting children's health to the list of exemptions. The amendment was defeated 161-261. Yes is the pro-environment vote.

Suspending federal rulemaking

Feb. 24 - H.R. 450, a bill to suspend federal rulemaking. As passed by the House, H.R. 450 retroactively suspends federal government rulemaking, the process by which laws which establish safeguards are implemented. New standards for environmental protection are blocked until Dec. 31.

The House passed an amendment to ban protections for newly determined endangered species for two years, and rejected amendments that would have allowed the government to continue to set standards for bacterial contamination of meat, and to safeguard tap water from pathogens.

The bill passed 276-146. No is the pro-environment vote.

Preventing frivolous legal challenges

Feb. 28 - H.R. 1022, "risk assessment" and "cost benefit" legislation. Rather than streamlining bureaucratic procedures, so-called "regulatory reform" legislation actually sets up a one-sided array of procedural and analytical roadblocks to environmental protection, while exempting pesticide companies and other corporate interests from these same requirements.

In addition, industries resisting new safeguards can lodge legal challenges to the cost and risk assessments, potentially adding years of delay.

Under the guise of sound science, this legislation gives corporations power to rewrite dozens of environmental statutes enacted during the past 25 years.

Rep. Tim Roemer (D-IN)tried to amend the H.R. 1022 to prevent court challenges being lodged against the minute details of the many new procedures. He argued, "this bill could be called the Full Employment Bill for Lawyers and Lobbyists." His amendment would preserve existing legal rights.

The Roemer amendment was defeated 192-231. Yes is the pro-environment vote.

Allowing rollbacks of environmental laws

H.R. 1022. Reps. Joe Barton (R-TX), Billy Tauzin (D-LA) and Michael Crapo (R-ID) offered an amendment to apply H.R. 1022 to existing federal regulations as well as new ones by allowing businesses to force rollbacks of existing health, safety and environmental rules.

Agencies would have to respond to the corporate rollback requests immediately and, if they are denied, the denial would be reviewable by the courts.

The House rejected the Barton amendment 206-220. No is the pro-environment vote.

Protecting existing environmental laws

H.R. 1022. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) offered an amendment to prevent the new regulatory procedures from undoing existing laws such as the Clean Air Act of 1990.

The amendment was defeated 181-238. Yes is the pro-environment vote.

Creating roadblocks to environmental protection

H.R. 1022. Over the unanimous objection of the national environmental groups, the House approved risk assessment and cost benefit legislation, 286-141. No is the pro-environment vote.

March 2-3 H.R. 925, a bill redefining the legal concept of "takings." As approved by the House, H.R. 925 requires the government to use funds which would otherwise go to the Fish and Wildlife Service or other agencies to pay property owners to obey the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act or other environmental statutes.

The Fifth Amendment guarantees that "Private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation." The government, however, can reasonably regulate activities that have adverse impacts on communities, such as prohibiting the filling of wetlands to prevent flooding.

Under H.R. 925, landowners who claim that any portions of their lands were reduced in value by 20 percent would be entitled to compensation from taxpayers or, if the government cannot afford to pay, the landowner can violate the law.

In addition to the potential costs of this radical new interpretation of the Constitution, the bill would require agencies to develop a new layer of bureaucracy to handle the challenges.

Crippling environmental protection on private land

H.R. 925. As authored by the Judiciary Committee, H.R. 925 would apply broadly to federal law. Under a substitute version of the bill offered by Rep. Billy Tauzin (D-LA), the bill would directly target the Endangered Species Act, the wetlands protections of the Clean Water Act, and federal laws that protect water flow in the arid West, potentially crippling them.

The House approved the Tauzin substitute 301-128. No is the pro-environment vote.

Paying polluters not to pollute

H.R. 925. The House approved "takings" legislation 277-148. No is the pro-environment vote. The League of Conservation Voters considers this legislation so environmentally harmful and far-reaching that this vote is scored twice.

Overriding 25 years of environmental protection

March 3 - H.R. 9, a bill combining "takings," "risk assessment," and "cost benefit" legislation. In addition to passing each bill separately, the House combined: H.R. 925, H.R. 1022 and H.R. 926, Regulatory Impact Analysis, a bill which creates new levels of analysis for regulations and allows the Office of Management and Budget to block health and safety protections.

Taken together, H.R. 9 overrides 25 years of environmental protection.

The House adopted H.R. 9, 277-141. No is the pro-environment vote.

Subsidizing logging on federal lands

March 15, 1995. H.R. 1158, 1995 rescissions and emergency appropriations. As part of federal appropriations legislation affecting previously approved spending for 1995, Rep. Charles Taylor (R-NC) authored a section to mandate increased logging, at increased cost, on Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands.

To guarantee that the trees will be cut, the Taylor provision would suspend all federal laws which could otherwise prevent this logging. Supposedly providing for "salvage" logging of at least 6.2 billion board feet of trees affected by wildfire or insect infestation, the Taylor language expressly allowed cutting live, healthy trees.

Rep. Sidney Yates (D-IL) offered an amendment to kill the Taylor provision and return the forest program to its previous 1995 levels under law.

The Yates amendment was defeated 150-275. Yes is the pro-environment vote.

Rating of how your guys in Washington voted on these 10 environmental issues:

Click here to see the actual votes.

The League of Conservation Voters, a Washington, C.C., advocacy group, works to elect environmentally responsible candidates to Congress and to educate Americans on the voting records of their elected officials.

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© Copyright by POINT, 1995

Last modified 6/9/95