House Passes Five Gosar Amendments that Defund Obama’s Climate Agenda, Protect Vital Water and Energy Resources

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after the House passed five of his amendments to H.R. 5055, the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017:

For Immediate Release

Date: May 26, 2016

Contact: Steven D. Smith

Steven.Smith@mail.house.gov

Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after the House passed five of his amendments to H.R. 5055, the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017:

“Once again, I am proud to strike back against the Obama Administration’s far-left anti-energy agenda by utilizing the power of the purse. The eight legislative initiatives that I successfully attached to this spending bill would effectively neuter several of the president’s top climate initiatives. Additionally, I was pleased to see the House pass one of my amendments that rejects the Obama Administration’s new climate transportation program and new $10.25 tax on crude oil. Our nation’s energy and water resources are too important to let one man, obsessed with his own legacy, unilaterally implement his misguided ideological policies. Our precious resources belong to all Americans and Congress must serve as a vigilant watchdog that holds government bureaucrats and this rogue administration accountable.”


Background:

The full text of Congressman Gosar’s eight legislative initiatives included in H.R. 5055 can be found by clicking the links below:

Prioritizing Important Energy Infrastructure Projects Over More DOE Bureaucracy
(Amendment that passed unanimously)
The Investigation account funds the planning and environmental studies required under law for important Corps’ projects prior to construction. There is a backlog of worthwhile corps’ projects throughout the country that are essential to improving infrastructure for communities, improving ecosystem restoration, providing clean water, and expanding much needed water storage. These projects are especially critical to the drought stricken communities in the West and many other parts of the nation. At a time of historic drought and major water challenges, we shouldn’t be reducing investigation dollars that will allow worthwhile community projects to move forward.

Defunding the Social Cost Of Carbon
(Amendment that passed 230-188)
The Obama Administration has continuously used the Social Cost of Carbon models, which can be easily manipulated, in order to attempt to justify new job-killing regulations. For instance, the administration recently attempted to justify the EPA’s methane rule using the Social Cost of Carbon. Using this flawed metric, they claimed that the EPA’s methane rule will yield climate benefits of $690 million in 2025, and that those benefits will outweigh the $530 million that the rule will cost businesses and job creators that year alone. Congressman Culberson stated in July 2015, “As you may know, the social cost of carbon puts a dollar figure on the cost to society of each metric ton of greenhouse gas emissions. In practice, it can mean a higher regulatory cost for many industries…In 2010, the White House convened a group of officials from across the government to calculate the social cost of carbon formula. The group used three computer models that estimate the economic impacts of climate change, and today the administration says the social cost of carbon is $38 per ton of carbon dioxide…The social cost of carbon formula is a highly uncertain measurement of the impact of carbon pollution on society. In a report issued August 25, 2014 GAO concluded that the accuracy of the formula is uncertain, and the process by which its value was reached was not transparent.” With passage of this Gosar amendment, the House has now passed 10 amendments rejecting the Social Cost of Carbon in the last two Congresses alone.

This amendment is endorsed by: American Energy Alliance, Americans for Limited Government, Americans for Tax Reform, Arch Coal, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, FreedomWorks, the National Taxpayers Union, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Arizona Liberty, the Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce, Concerned Citizens for America Arizona Chapter, the Gila County Cattle Growers Association, Shake, Rattle & Troll Radio and the Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative, and Taxpayers Bruce Bramblett, Kat Bramblett and Rory Van Poucke.  

Blocking the Department of Energy’s Climate Model Development and Validation Program
(Amendment that passed unanimously)
The Department of Energy has requested funding for a new Climate Model program in their Fiscal 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 budgets, called the Climate Model Development and Validation. They received $0 in fiscal years 2014 and 2015. The House has now passed Congressman Gosar’s amendments blocking funding for this new program in fiscal years 2015, 2016 and 2017. The Climate Model Development and Validation program is yet another addition to the President’s ever growing list of duplicative global warming, research, and modeling programs currently being hijacked by the EPA and other agencies to manufacture alleged climate benefits and force new regulations like the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and WOTUS down the throats of the American people. Considering the extensive work that is being done to research, model, and forecast climate change trends by other areas in government, the private sector, and internationally, funding for this specific piece President Obama’s climate agenda is not only redundant, but inefficient.

This amendment is endorsed by: American Energy Alliance, Americans for Limited Government, Americans for Tax Reform, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Arizona Liberty, the Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce, Concerned Citizens for America Arizona Chapter, the Gila County Cattle Growers Association and the Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative, and Taxpayers Bruce Bramblett, Kat Bramblett and Rory Van Poucke.

Ensuring Federal Agencies Comply with the Freedom of Information Act
(Amendment that passed unanimously)
In 2009, the White House released a secret memo to every executive department and agency urging them to consult with counsel at the White House before releasing any documents or fulfilling any requests that may involve “White House equities.” The Department of Energy Office of Inspector General and the several watchdog groups have charged that this memo has allowed the White House “to interfere with how federal agencies comply with the Freedom of Information Act.” The AP reported in March that in 2015 the American people received censored responses or nothing in 77 percent of all FOIA requests. Redacted releases or nothing in response to nearly 600,000 Freedom of Information Act requests. Agency officials that want to comply with the law should not be blocked from doing so because of an arbitrary memo from the White House. This amendment defunds the 2009 memo. 

This amendment is endorsed by: Americans for Tax Reform, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, the National Taxpayers Union, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Arizona Liberty, the Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce, Concerned Citizens for America Arizona Chapter, the Gila County Cattle Growers Association, the Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative, as well as Taxpayers Bruce Bramblett, Kat Bramblett and Rory Van Poucke.

Defunding Obama’s 21st Century Clean Transportation Plan
(Amendment that passed unanimously)
President Obama recently put forth a misguided climate change transportation initiative entitled the 21st Century Clean Transportation Plan. To pay for the majority of this unlawful $320 billion program, the administration has proposed a new $10.25 tax on every barrel of oil. Prior to passage of the Gosar amendment, the House had not taken formal action to reject this new tax increase put forth in February. Furthermore, $20 billion of the estimated $32 billion in annual expenses for this proposed program won’t go to roads or bridges, but instead will be squandered on inefficient programs that require significant taxpayer subsidies. This amendment rejects that tax increase and the Obama Administration’s new climate change transportation program.

This amendment is endorsed by: American Energy Alliance, Americans for Limited Government, Americans for Tax Reform, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, the National Taxpayers Union, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Arizona Liberty, the Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce, Concerned Citizens for America Arizona Chapter, the Gila County Cattle Growers Association and the Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative, Taxpayer Rory Van Poucke.

No Funds for Removing Federal Dams
(Section 507 of the base bill)
In recent years, extremist environmental groups have increased efforts to dismantle and remove federal dams. These efforts defy commonsense, particularly at a time of major water challenges across the West and with an increasing need for clean, renewable hydropower.  Electricity generated from Army Corps and Bureau of Reclamation operated dams is utilized by millions of Americans every day and represents the largest source of renewable energy in the country. Many of these dams are essential components for flood control, strategic water storage, and life-sustaining irrigation for millions of acres of American agriculture. Tens of millions of Americans rely on these dams to supply their drinking water and support their livelihoods.  The vital water, energy, economic, and ecological benefits provided by federally-owned and operated dams must be protected. This provision prohibits the removal of any federally-owned or operated dams in fiscal year 2017.

Western Area Power Administration Accountability and Transparency Language
(Committee Report Language on page 121)
“The Committee continues to hear strong concern about the transparency of Western’s budget and expenditures by it. In particular, there is concern that staffing levels have grown significantly in recent years, including an additional 51 full-time equivalents proposed for fiscal year 2017. In response to these concerns, Western shall not proceed with the staffing level increase proposed in the fiscal year 2017 budget request until such time as Western has provided to the Committee a briefing on the need for increased staffing levels over the past five years. The briefing shall include a comparison of staffing levels at non-federal entities responsible for the marketing of power and operation and maintenance of transmission systems.”

Funding in the Corps of Engineers Investigations Budget for the Lower Santa Cruz
(Committee Report on page 19)
The Lower Santa Cruz River has a history of disastrous flooding during major storms resulting in severe damage to crops, farms, housing, communities, businesses, and infrastructure across the region. Major floods in 1983 and 1993 and more than 30 major flood events have occurred in the Lower Santa Cruz within the last 200 years. This area is also located in one of Arizona’s fastest growing communities and recurrence of a major flood would cause an estimated $186 million in damages. As a result of efforts by Congressman Gosar and others, the Corps included $700,000 for the Lower Santa Cruz in fiscal 2016 and has included $400,000 to continue the feasibility study in fiscal year 2017. 

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