Now that her presidential candidacy is official, Michele Bachmann is making headlines and hammering home her platform. She announced her candidacy during a debate in New Hampshire on Monday night.
Since 2007, Bachmann has carved out territory as a staunch social conservative in the U.S. House of Representatives. She is well-known for her stance on abortion, gay rights and anti-American conspiracies, but the Minnesota Republican also has taken a hard line on some environmental issues. Bachmann does not believe in climate change. She has consistently voted against government promotion of energy conservation or investment in renewable energy projects, but she supports federal subsidies to the world's most profitable oil companies.
When it comes to the environment, here’s the nitty-gritty on Bachmann:
Global warming is a hoax
Bachmann sides with Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) when it comes global warming. She believes it’s all a conspiracy. “The big thing we are working on now is the global warming hoax. It's all voodoo, nonsense, hokum, a hoax," she said in a Minnesota Public Radio story. Because Bachmann doesn't buy the idea that emissions from power plants, cars, trucks and industry are trapping heat and warming the planet, she’s against any plan to fix that issue. Her voting record, and her rhetoric, support her “hokum” stance.
‘Armed and dangerous’ opposition to cap-and-trade
In 2010, Bachmann signed and supported the Contract from America, a pledge by members of Congress to declare that a federal cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon emissions should be stopped in its tracks. It was also a pledge to “Stop costly new regulations that would increase unemployment, raise consumer prices, and weaken the nation's global competitiveness with virtually no impact on global temperatures.” Bachmann agreed with the idea that cap and trade would not help reduce emissions, and she also used the issue to unleash her inner "momma grizzly." In 2009, Bachmann described her level of opposition to the plan as “armed and dangerous.” Now that she has launched her presidential campaign, she is focusing her rhetoric on the Environmental Protection Agency. “I would begin with the EPA, because there is no other agency like the EPA," said Bachmann in New Hampshire when asked about where to eliminate regulation, adding, “It should really be renamed the job-killing organization of America.”
Roll back those light bulb rules
Bachmann says she’s against government intervention on a range of issues. So when Congress passed legislation in 2007 to phase out inefficient bulbs by 2012 to save energy, Bachmann drew a line in the sand. Bachmann first said the bill was creating a federal “nanny state,” and then introduced a bill to roll back the plan. The BULB Act, which gained the support of Republicans in the House and Senate, would have brought back the incandescent light bulbs that Congress wanted to phase out in 2007. The only way Bachmann said she would allow the current light bulb rules to remain would be if, “(1) there is proof that alternate bulbs save consumers money, (2) there is proof that alternate bulbs significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions and (3) that it's shown that alternate bulbs would not lead to a health risk for consumers, particularly those in hospitals, schools, day care centers and nursing homes.”
Federal assistance to Big Oil, but not alternatives
Bachmann may be channeling Rep. Ron Paul of Texas when it comes keeping the government’s hands off your light bulbs, but she is channeling former Vice President Dick Cheney when it comes to subsidies for Big Oil. Bachmann has repeatedly voted against reducing the billions of taxpayer dollars that go to oil producers in the United States. Bachmann has received about $78,000 in campaign contributions from the energy sector, of which $54,000 came directly from oil and gas interests.
When it comes to renewable energy, Bachmann swings back to the Paul wing of the Republican Party. In 2008, she voted against giving tax credits to renewable energy developers as part of a “pay as you go” plan to fund alternatives. That same year, Bachmann voted against allocating tax incentives for lowering energy usage and increasing energy efficiency. In 2007, Bachmann voted against the now-controversial ethanol subsidy program that has since given large amounts of federal assistance to domestic corn producers.
But wait, there's more
Bachmann is all for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). She has called ANWR “perfect for drilling,” and says, “it beats Saudi Arabia.” In 2008, Bachmann refused to support federal education grants for outdoor experiences for children. A year later she opposed a plan that called for protection of free-roaming horses and burrows in the wake of the Bureau of Land Management’s announcement that 30,000 wild horses would need to be slaughtered to control populations.
Bachmann was a strong opponent of the Obama-backed “Cash for Clunkers” program when it was introduced, and she remains a critic of the program to this day. The environmentally minded League of Conservation Voters has lumped Bachmann in with the organization’s “Dirty Dozen” members of Congress, naming her the “people’s choice” for the 2010 “Dirty Dozen” list.
She is controversial, direct and outspoken on a range of issues, not the least of which is the environment.