Washington Life Magazine
Washington Life Magazine

The Greenhouse Effect

Who are the Hill's environmental decision makers?


With a political shift toward the blue, Capitol Hill made way for green decision makers. Kevin Book, a senior analyst for Friedman Billings Ramsey, provides a look at their voting pattern.While the Democrats currently hold the committee chairs for key decisions, Republicans including Senators Susan Collins and John McCain, and Representatives Ehlers, Gerlach, Gilchrest, Johnson, Kirk, Saxton, Shays and Walsh deserve honorable mentions.


Role in 110th Congress
Bias towards current Administration
Current/Past Positions
Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.)
Chairman, Senate Finance Committee
Supports national renewable portfolio standard (utilities must sell a portion of their electricity from renewable energy sources), hydrogen fuel cells and tax credits for alternative fuel energy. Opposes nuclear waste storage on federal lands.
Sen. Jeff Bingaman
Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D- N.Mex.)
Chairman, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
Mixed with Critic Tendencies
Strong proponent of national renewable portfolio standard for power generation. Supports ethanol, alternative energy tax credit extensions (including home generation/ cogeneration) and expansion of R&D tax credits for energy related research. Opposes offshore drilling.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D- Calif.)
Chair, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
Sen. Barbara Boxer
Strong Critic
Strong environmental protection record, particularly in opposition to petroleum/ petrochemical industry and coal-fired emissions legislation. Opposed to surface transport of nuclear waste.
Sen. Daniel Inouye
Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii)
Chairman, Senate Commerce Committee
Mixed with Friendly Tendencies
Voting record and overt policy support for increasing domestic production of oil and offshore; slow to favor ethanol and not a co-sponsor of Clean Edge Act, but supports hydrogen vehicles and reduced dependency on foreign oil.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)
Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee
Strong Critic
Strong position on oil company pricegouging; supports windfall profits tax; supports reexamination of oil industry merger; supports higher fuel economy standards; led referendum on the Clean Air Mercury Rule (stringent, per-unit mercury caps on coal-fired plants).
Sen. Harry Reid
Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
Senate Majority Leader
Co-sponsor of Clean Edge Act - increased renewable energy and alternative fleet, price gouging and anti-trust constraints. Supports national Renewable Portfolio Standard, government efficiency mandates, windfall profits taxation to fund increased refinery capacity. Opposes nuclear waste storage at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.
Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.)
Chairman, House and Ways Means Committee
Supports windfall profits tax; likely to block extension of lower dividend tax rates; proponent of extending production tax credits for renewable energy; likely to support elimination of foreign tax credits for integrated oil companies.
Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.)
Chairman, House Energy and Commerce Committee
Rep. John Dingell
Proponent of strategic refinery reserve to high gasoline prices; isolationist on trade, particularly regarding China; likely to call for investigation of administrative energy policy decisions; unlikely to support a windfall profits tax.
Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.)
Chairman, House Resources Committee
Fought hard for removal of ultra deepwater incentives.
Rep. John Conyers
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)
Chairman, House Judiciary Committee
Strong Critic
Supporter of windfall profits tax to add refining capacity and fund alternative fuels; proponent of new FTC anti-price gouging authority.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.)
Chairman, House Committee on Government Reform
Strong Critic
Strong climate change activist and vocal critic of integrated oil companies and refiners and supporter of incremental utility efficiency gains (1%/year).
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)
House Majority Leader
Rep. Nancy Pelosi
Strong Critic
Supports stripping tax incentives for oil production companies; suggests "strong policies" and "technology solutions" to air pollution and global warming; opponent of offshore drilling; opposes surface transportation of nuclear waste through California; supports windfall profits tax.
Rep. Ed Markey (D-Calif.)
Chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming (does not possess biding authority to shape spending)
Strong Critic
Staunch advocate of increased efficiency standards for all sectors of energy consumption; opponent of oil industry tax benefits; supports windfall profits tax, alternative energy and "clean-tech"; opposes offshore drilling and power plant emissions laws.

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