Congressman Jim McGovern

Representing the 2nd District of Massachussetts
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McGovern: House GOP Attack on EPA Aims to Halt Progress on Climate Change

Dec 1, 2015
Press Release
Leading Debate for House Democrats, McGovern Calls Out Republican Bills As “Early Christmas Gift” for Big Oil that Ignores Urgency of Climate Change

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today on the House floor, Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) led the push by House Democrats to defeat three House Republican bills which would undermine critical progress made by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Obama administration’s continued efforts to address climate change. Click here for video of today’s floor speech.

Speaking on the rule for consideration of these bills, Congressman McGovern said today’s measures are “yet another pander to big money, fossil fuels, and special interests. So I urge my colleagues to follow the money because that’s what this is all about here today. It’s not about serious legislating, it’s about fundraising.”

“As we gather here,” McGovern added, “leaders from all around the world are meeting in Paris to talk about how to deal with the issue of climate change. What we should be doing here is providing some wind at the back of not only our president, but of all the leaders of the world who are gathering to try to figure out how to deal with this challenge. And instead of doing that, we’re doing this. It’s really sad that this is what we’ve come to here.

In today’s floor speech, McGovern said we shouldn’t “stop commonsense regulations that the EPA has put in place that protect us from the harmful pollution emitted by power plants,” adding that “We shouldn’t be propping up the coal and oil industries with taxpayer subsidies. We shouldn’t be using taxpayer money to destroy our environment. When the scientific community reaches a clear consensus on an issue like climate change, Congress shouldn’t undermine them with dangerous legislation like this.

McGovern called out the Republican bills for “allowing big gas companies to choose to build wherever they want, regardless of the consequences for local communities,” saying that “it would even allow them to build through our treasured national parks. It’s an early Christmas gift for big special interests.

McGovern continued, “When Arctic ice is crashing into the oceans at record rates -- that is not a hoax.  When species are going extinct at accelerated rates around the globe -- that is not a fantasy. When extreme weather events are becoming commonplace -- that’s not a theory.  And when the global temperature of the planet continues to increase every year for decades -- we should pay attention.

“The evidence is clear that climate change is real. But you’d never know that listening to Republicans. They have no solutions. Only denials. Let’s keep on going down the road of the same old same old. And their ‘just say no’ agenda is a recipe for disaster.”

McGovern also noted that over 120 environmental, faith-based, and public health organizations have already come out opposing these anti-science bills from Republicans. These organizations include the American Lung Association, the League of Conservation Voters, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Sierra Club, and Public Citizen. Click here for video of today’s floor speech.

The Full Text of Congressman McGovern’s Floor Speech is Below:

“I rise in opposition to this closed rule and the underlying legislation. I want to begin by congratulating the Republican Majority. Through their exemplary, heavy-handed, undemocratic leadership, this is now officially the most closed session of Congress in the entire history of the United States of America. I’m not sure that’s something to be proud of, but today, that’s a title they’ve earned.

“Today we are debating the 47th and 48th closed rules of the 114th Congress.  We are in our third legislative week since Speaker Ryan took the gavel, and we are already debating our third and fourth closed Rules during his short tenure. 

“Speaker Ryan promised a ‘more open, more inclusive, more deliberative, more participatory process.’ I think he must have misspoke because, by any measure, the Republican leadership has already fallen short of that commitment.

“Today we are considering three bills -- two that seek to undermine the EPA’s ability to protect our public health and environment and a third that offers many troubling provisions, including one which would hastily rush the natural gas pipeline approval process and allow pipelines to be built and run right through our magnificent national parks.

“On December 11th , our government will run out of money. During the 114th Congress, we have stood in this chamber debating Republican messaging bills to repeal the Affordable Care Act, undermine the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, and weaken public health and environmental regulations while failing to consider meaningful legislation that would create jobs, boost the economy, and help vulnerable Americans rise out of poverty. Instead of focusing on these priorities, this majority will bring to the floor three bills intended to prevent the EPA from effectively doing its job. 

“Now, if anyone is feeling déjà-vu, that’s probably because what I just said is from a floor speech I gave on a rule for three anti-science bills that the Republicans brought before us last November. The only difference is that I changed 113th to 114th Congress. And while I hate to repeat myself, unfortunately the majority is in a rut of bringing before us the same old same old unproductive legislation that is going nowhere.

“We have six legislative days left to ensure that the government doesn’t run out of money -- just 6 days. But instead of focusing on that, instead of working to ensure the government is funded, we are on the floor debating more Republican messaging bills. Bills that I think were written in the Republican Congressional campaign committee because they’re poorly drafted and these bills would have drastic and devastating effects on public health and the environment. And they will be vetoed by the President of the United States.

“But I guess the positive thing about these bills from the Republican point of view is that they are yet another pander to big money, fossil fuels, and special interests. So I urge my colleagues to follow the money because that’s what this is all about here today. It’s not about serious legislating, it’s about fundraising.

“S.J. Res. 23 and S.J. Res. 24 look to stop commonsense regulations that the EPA has put in place that protect us from the harmful pollution emitted by power plants. These joint resolutions are another clear message from the Republican Majority that they do not believe that climate change is real. Over 120 environmental, faith-based, and public health organizations have already come out opposing these two resolutions, including the American Lung Association, the Allergy and Asthma Network, the League of Conservation Voters, the National Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, and Public Citizen.

“Power plants account for 40 percent of our annual carbon pollution emissions. They are the single biggest source of carbon pollution in this country. Yet, the Republican Majority wants to take away the greatest step we have taken to try to curb that major source of pollution. These two joint resolutions would permanently prevent the EPA from ever limiting carbon pollution from power plants in the future as well.

“H.R. 8 is also a deeply troubling piece of legislation. It favors the use of fossil fuels over renewable energy and favors consumption over energy efficiency. It would ram pipeline applications through FERC in under 90 days, even though most applications are reviewed and approved in less than one year. It all but removes individuals from the process, allowing big gas companies to choose to build wherever they want, regardless of the consequences for local communities. It would even allow them to build through our treasured national parks. It’s an early Christmas gift for big special interests.

“At some point, we must face the facts. I want to say something to my colleagues on the Republican side. I know it may make you feel uncomfortable, but it’s the truth. Climate Change is real. The overwhelming science says that it is real. Yet, a huge chunk of the Republican conference is in denial. They don’t believe there is such a thing as climate change. They don’t believe we have any responsibility to our children and future generations to combat climate change. They are perfectly happy living in this fantasy world you can just rely on fossil fuels and just make believe that it has no impact on our environment.

“And quite frankly, if climate change wasn’t such an issue, the Republican response would be comical. But climate change is a serious issue. It is a real issue. It is an issue not just for us. It is an issue for future generations. So their denial is frightening. It is frightening.

“We shouldn’t be propping up the coal and oil industries with taxpayer subsidies. We shouldn’t be using taxpayer money to destroy our environment. When the scientific community reaches a clear consensus on an issue like climate change, Congress shouldn’t undermine them with dangerous legislation like this. When we receive credible, peer-reviewed study after study telling us that we are in the middle of a climate crisis and that something must be done about it, we need to listen! But the Republican Majority refuses to listen.

“Climate change is often referred to as the most pressing issue of our time. We know that climate change is real. We see it. We live it. And the scientific community has verified it. Climate change is not a theory; it’s not a hoax; and it’s certainly not some silly fantasy. 

“When Arctic ice is crashing into the oceans at record rates -- that is not a hoax.  When species are going extinct at accelerated rates around the globe -- that is not a fantasy. When extreme weather events are becoming commonplace -- that’s not a theory.  And when the global temperature of the planet continues to increase every year for decades -- we should pay attention.

“These are the exact same scare tactics that has been using for 45 years. Opponents of clean air have been claiming for half a century that clean air regulations would kill jobs and hurt economic growth. But they are wrong -- the truth is: the Clean Air Act alone has created $57 trillion in benefits since it was enacted in 1970. The Clean Power Plan will lead to a stronger economy, a safer climate, and better health for all us.

“Why is this so difficult? Maybe it’s because my friends on the other side of the aisle don’t like the president. So anything that he’s for, they have to be against. You have to move beyond your anger. You have to look at the issues and evaluate them based on the evidence. And the evidence is that climate change is real. But you’d never know that listening to Republicans. They have no solutions. Only denials. Let’s keep on going down the road of the same old same old. And their “just say no” agenda is a recipe for disaster.

“As we gather here, leaders from all around the world are meeting in Paris to talk about how to deal with the issue of climate change. What we should be doing here is providing some wind at the back of not only our president, but of all the leaders of the world who are gathering to try to figure out how to deal with this challenge. And instead of doing that, we’re doing this. It’s really sad that this is what we’ve come to here.

“If we are going to say “No” to anything today, it should be to this closed rule, and to S.J. Res. 23 and S. J. Res. 24.” 

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