NRDC Action Fund, the 401(c)(4) arm of one of the largest environmental organizations in the country, has selected the Top 20 #DirtyDenier$ and are rolling them out over Congress’s summer break. The #DirtyDenier$ are chosen because of they “allow polluters to foul our air by casting dirty votes and accept dirty money.”
In the Top 20 are two Michigan Congressmen: Tim Walberg (MI-07) and Fred Upton (MI-06).
Here’s what they had to say about Walberg:
Congressman Tim Walberg seems perfectly happy as a reliable foe of clean air, clean water and taking action on climate change, doesn’t he? Maybe it’s because he’s tucked into the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Patriot Program.” And he’s done well, raising more than $700,000 from congressional colleagues’ leadership political action committees. In addition, he’s brought in $137,000 from dirty fossil fuel interests and another $47,700 from the oil billionaire Koch Brothers.
It’s no surprise why they want him in the House—he’s a consistent supporter of their anti-environment, anti-public health agenda. He sponsored a bill allowing states to waive some environmental standards. He inserted riders into bills barring efforts to promote alternative energies, encourage energy efficiency and decrease oil consumption. And he backed a huge give- away to Big Oil.
He lands on the Daily Dirty Denier$ list for these bills and his numerous votes against addressing climate change. He voted against reducing dangerous carbon pollution. He’s backed a bill enabling other agencies to stop EPA from doing so, as well as a measure to stop all agencies from assessing the costs of climate change.
His own views on climate change? While he noted that some scientists believe it is occurring, “I read scientists…an equal number at the very least that say just the opposite that this is something that’s gone on for eons, that we go through these cycles.”
Walberg’s dirty denier actions have earned him just a 7 percent rating with the League of Conservation Voters, showing how far out of step he is with protecting our health and environment. His opponent for the 2014 elections, Pam Byrnes, has challenged him to seven debates one in each of the district’s counties, and he should accept them to explain why he consistently backs polluter profits over public health.
Now for today’s #DirtyDenier$, Fred Upton:
Today’s Dirty Denier$ is Rep. Fred Upton, a Republican from Michigan and Chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. Upton has used his leadership position to try to move the nation backward, and his record on clean air and climate change keeps getting worse.
Upton has been all over the map on the facts about climate change. In 2011, he said he didn’t believe humans are contributing to global climate change. Since then, he’s been mostly silent on that basic issue, but he’s been loud in his opposition to doing anything about climate. He has used extreme rhetoric to characterize the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan, calling it “an unconstitutional power grab that will kill millions of jobs” and a “train wreck.”
And consider that one of the first bills that Upton sponsored upon assuming the chairmanship of the committee would have permanently blocked EPA from doing anything at all to address carbon pollution. Moreover, the bill would have increased America’s dependence on oil by undermining efficiency standards for motor vehicles, and cost consumers $58 billion. Upton has also given his blessing to multiple bills to undo various aspects of the Clean Air Act.
The dirty fuel interests that have given nearly $2 million in campaign contributions to Upton over the course of his career are no doubt pleased with his record. However, the same can’t be said for his constituents back home. According to recent polling from the NRDC Action Fund in key states including Michigan, overwhelming majorities of voters in that group of states support strong action to stop dangerous carbon pollution. This includes 53% of Republicans. Michigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder has said, “People may not agree about why climate change is happening, but it is certainly affecting Michigan.”
Michigan has a lot to gain from a clean energy policy. In 2013 alone, Michigan announced more than 1700 jobs in the renewable energy sector, placing it 12th in the country for new job creation. And in a signal that better days are ahead for both the economy and the environment, 380 of those jobs were in clean vehicle manufacturing.
These two climate change zombies are in fine company. The Top 20 list includes such luminaries as Senate candidate Scott Brown (formerly of Massachussets, currently of New Hampshire), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. One thing these people all have in common is that they accept money from polluters and then work hard to shape our country’s laws and policies to let them continue polluting. Meanwhile, their constituents’ interest in a clean environment that they can pass on to their children and grandchildren and beyond is tossed to the curb.
Those of us in Michigan know that Walberg and Upton don’t represent us when it comes to environmental issues and Upton is in a particularly powerful position as the Chair of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. It’s nice to see them getting the national condemnation that they deserve.
If you’d like an alternative to these two #DirtyDenier$, please make sure you’re supporting former Michigan House Speaker Pro Tempore Pam Byrnes in the 7th District and Professor Paul Clements in the 6th District. Get out the vote for them and consider dropping some folding money into their coffers. Given the amount of money Walberg and Upton take from our nation’s most egregious polluters, they can use all the help that we can give them.