As the days wind down until John Boehner becomes Speaker of the House and many new Republican faces take their seats in Congress, a clearer picture of what the new Congress will look like is beginning to take shape.
When it comes to energy and environmental policy, one of the most thorough examinations came from Politico’s Robin Bravender, who recently wrote a great article entitled, “10 to watch: GOP freshman on energy.”
The article is a must-read for anyone interested in figuring out who will be doing what when it comes to energy in the next Congress. Bravender’s exhaustive examination points out plenty of interesting facts about the ten freshman highlighted.
Of the ten outlines, four members (West Virginia’s David McKinley, Illinois’ Adam Kinzinger, Kansas’ Mike Pompeo and Virginia’s Morgan Griffith) will all sit on the Energy and Commerce Committee. Three of the ten members (Jeff Landry of Louisiana, Jeff Duncan of South Carolina and Bill Flores of Texas) will all have seats on the House’s Natural Resources Committee.
Both Flores and Pompeo are noted for their ties to the oil and gas industries. Pompeo once owned an oil and gas equipment company, while Flores used to be the president and CEO of Phoenix Exploration Co. Almost all of the ten profiled by Bravender mention increasing domestic energy production. This is something that may be common ground for both Republicans and Democrats, who are likely to favor our energy over Middle Eastern energy -- even if both are bad for the environment.
None of the ten had anything positive to say about cap and trade, as if that will become an issue again, since it failed when Democrats had control of both chambers of Congress. Still, they mentioned it.
Also discussed was advocacy for coal. Representative-elect McKinley is quoted as saying, “Coal is West Virginia.” Representative-elect Landry wants to end the Obama-imposed offshore drilling moratorium, which continues to take a toll on workers in Louisiana, while Virginia’s Griffith is quoted as being a bit skeptical when it comes to the scientific basis for global warming.
While it is easy to see what these ten new members in Congress are against, it is perhaps more interesting to see what they are for: Jobs. Those interested in oil, gas, coal and agricultural policies all seem to frame their arguments by emphasizing growing our economy. That makes a ton of sense. After all, the economy is what got these guys elected, or at least it’s what helped kick their predecessors out of office.