Speaker Ryan’s Dismal Environmental Record

By: Meredith Kelly

In honor of Earth Day, the DCCC wanted to remind folks of Speaker Ryan’s long and dismal record of failing to protect the environment. From his willingness to question the science of climate change to his efforts to deregulate dangerous pollutants, it’s clear Speaker Ryan has no interest in protecting and preserving our environment and natural resources for future generations. See below for additional information on Speaker Ryan’s record.


Speaker Ryan’s Dismal Environmental Record

Ryan Has 11% Lifetime Score From League Of Conservation Voters. [LCV, accessed 4/12/16]

Ryan Had 0% LCV Rating In 2015. [LCV, accessed 4/12/16]


Climate Change

Ryan, On Climate Change: “There’s A Big Debate About The Scientific Veracity Of The … So-Called Solutions.” In an interview with WDBJ (VA), Ryan said: “All the solutions that people like Barack Obama are trying to impose on the American people, cost us jobs, make us less competitive and I think there’s a big debate about the scientific veracity of some of the solutions or so-called solutions.” [Grist, 8/24/12]

National Journal: “Paul Ryan Has … Questioned The Science Of Climate Change.” “The Republican party has shifted hard to the right on climate change since the last presidential election — in 2008, McCain campaigned on the promise of tackling climate change, and embraced the cap-and-trade policy that has since become politically toxic within his own party. Now, denying the scientific findings linking oil and coal pollution to climate change has become mainstream in the GOP, and nominee Mitt Romney has publicly walked back his formerly expressed views that humans contribute to global warming. Vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan has also questioned the science of climate change, and environmentalists have criticized the party for embracing an energy platform aimed at aggressively expanding oil production while slashing programs for renewable energy.” [National Journal, 8/24/12]

Ryan Has Repeatedly Voted Against Addressing Climate Change, Including EPA Regulations And USDA Studies Of Climate Adaptation. “Ryan has voted consistently against government efforts to tackle climate change. Like many House Republicans, he has voted to block efforts by the EPA to regulate carbon emissions. Ryan approved an amendment that would bar the Department of Agriculture from studying how best to adapt to a warmer planet.” [Washington Post, 8/14/12]


Oil Drilling & Subsidies

Ryan Budget

2012 House Republican Budget “Would Retain A Decade’s Worth Of Oil Tax Breaks Worth $40 Billion” And “Cut Billions Of Dollars From Investments To Develop Alternative Fuels And Clean Energy Technologies.” “The latest House Republican budget plan asks low-income and middle-class Americans to shoulder the entire burden of deficit reduction while simultaneously delivering massive tax breaks to the richest 1 percent and preserving huge giveaways to Big Oil. It’s a recipe for repeating the mistakes of the Bush administration, during which middle-class incomes stagnated and only the privileged few enjoyed enormous gains… American families have been plagued by higher oil and gasoline prices over the past several years despite a significant increase in domestic oil production and rigs, and decline in consumption. But while high prices threaten the economy and family budgets, they enrich American oil companies with huge profits. Yet it appears that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposed FY 2013 budget resolution would retain a decade’s worth of oil tax breaks worth $40 billion. And his budget would cut billions of dollars from investments to develop alternative fuels and clean energy technologies that would serve as substitutes for oil and help protect middle-class families from volatile energy prices as well as create jobs.” [Think Progress, 3/21/12]

2011 GOP Budget Preserves $40 Billion In Tax Giveaways To Big Oil Companies. “It retains $40 billion in Big Oil tax loopholes while completely eliminating investments in the clean energy technologies of the future that are essential for long-term economic growth.” [Center for American Progress, 4/6/11]

Republican Budget “Calls For Drastic Cuts In Federal Spending On Energy Research And Development And For The Outright Elimination Of Subsidies And Tax Breaks For Wind, Solar Power And Other Alternative Energy Technologies.” “A long-term Republican budget plan released this week by Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin calls for drastic cuts in federal spending on energy research and development and for the outright elimination of subsidies and tax breaks for wind, solar power and other alternative energy technologies. The plan ‘rolls back expensive handouts for uncompetitive sources of energy, calling instead for a free and open marketplace for energy development, innovation and exploration,’ Mr. Ryan, chairman of the House budget committee, wrote on Monday in The Wall Street Journal. The details were released on Tuesday.” [New York Times, 4/6/11]

Republican Budget Would Cut Clean Energy Investments By 70 Percent And Infrastructure By One Third. The Paul Ryan budget would end Medicare as we know it and double out of pocket costs to future beneficiaries, increase the number of uninsured by 50 million, cut clean energy investments by 70 percent and cut infrastructure by one-third. [White House Blog, 7/19/11]


Offshore Drilling Efforts

Ryan: “I Have Supported Efforts That Would Open Up Areas In The Outer Continental Shelf And In The Arctic National Wildlife Reserve.” Ryan wrote in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel questionnaire, “We currently send billions of dollars a day to foreign countries, some of which are hostile to America, to import oil. In fact, we import over 60% of the crude oil and 10% of the gasoline that we use, and this number is growing every year. With oil prices at all time highs, it is unacceptable that Congress continues to prevent the safe exploration of our resources here at home. I have supported efforts that would open up areas in the Outer Continental Shelf and in the [sic] Artic National Wildlife Reserve where there are proven oil deposits.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Candidate Questionnaire, 10/31/08]

Ryan Voted “To Allow Natural-Gas Drilling In Waters Within Sight Of The Atlantic, Pacific And Gulf Coasts.” “Lawmakers from Florida and other coastal states led the fight Thursday night to defeat a move to allow natural-gas drilling in waters within sight of the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts. By a vote of 217-203, the U.S. House rejected an amendment to a spending bill that would have exempted natural-gas drilling from a 25-year-old congressional moratorium covering the outer continental shelf. Earlier Thursday, the House rejected a proposal to allow oil drilling in waters off both coasts and in the eastern Gulf of Mexico by a 279-141 vote.” [Orlando Sentinel, 5/19/06; HR 5386, House Amendment 856, Roll Call 170, 5/18/06]

Ryan Voted For A Measure That Would Have “Lifted Offshore Drilling Bans For Natural Gas And Offered The Entire U.S. Coastline For Exploration – Including Within 25 Miles Of Florida.” “Florida lawmakers rejoiced Wednesday over their success at turning back a bid to open the coastline to offshore drilling. The Democratic-controlled House voted 233-196 late Tuesday against a measure backed by Rep. John Peterson, R-Pa., that would have lifted offshore drilling bans for natural gas and offered the entire U.S. coastline for exploration – including within 25 miles of Florida. Nearly every member of the state’s 25-person House delegation – Democrat and Republican alike – voted against the measure.” [Bradenton Herald, 6/28/07; HR 2643, Vote #552, 6/26/07]

Ryan Introduced A Motion That Would Expand Drilling In The Outer Continental Shelf. “Ryan: “Now, on to the motion to instruct. Everyone agrees, Mr. Speaker, that we need to reduce our reliance on foreign oil. But frankly, if we really want to move forward with greater energy independence, we should increase our petroleum supply by increasing our domestic production of oil. The motion accomplishes just that. The Republican motion calls on the conferees to increase the receipt levels in the final budget resolution by expanding leasing in Federal areas in the West, in the Outer Continental Shelf and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in an environmentally sound manner.” [S Con Res 70, Debate Transcript on Motion to Instruct Conferees, Page: H3847, 5/14/08; S Con Res 70, Vote #321, 5/14/08]

Ryan Voted To Support Drilling In ANWR, Outer Continental Shelf. In 2008, Ryan voted in favor of a motion to instruct conferees to adjust budget levels to assume $2 billion in increased revenues from expanding federal leases for oil exploration and development in the western federal lands, the Outer Continental Shelf and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The motion failed 185-229. [S Con Res 70, Vote #321, 5/14/08; CQ Floor Votes, 5/14/08]


Greenhouse Gases & Air Pollution

Ryan Left Little Question That He Opposed Efforts To Address Climate Change. “Yet whatever Romney’s views on climate, there’s less ambiguity with his new running mate, Paul Ryan. Already, environmentalists have dredged up a 2009 op-ed in which Ryan criticized the Environmental Protection Agency for declaring that carbon dioxide poses a danger to health and public welfare.” [Washington Post, 8/14/12]

Ryan Hit Idea That Carbon Dioxide Was A Dangerous Pollutant. “Washington’s aggressive global warming agenda has followed three related tracks: legislative – Congressional action on cap-and-trade; regulatory – the EPA’s declaration that carbon dioxide is a dangerous pollutant; and diplomatic – U.S. participation in the U.N. Copenhagen Climate Change Conference. … This past Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared that carbon dioxide “threatens the health and welfare of the American people,” paving the way for additional regulatory restrictions on American manufacturers.” [Ryan guest op-ed, Racine Journal-Times, 12/11/09]

Voted To Bar The EPA From Regulating Greenhouse Gases. In 2011, Ryan voted in favor of a bill that would prohibit the EPA from addressing climate change by regulating greenhouse gases, to change the definition of air pollutant in the Clean Air Act and to keep states from addressing climate change through the regulation of greenhouse gases. According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle: “‘This really is a shocking attack on states’ rights and on public health,’ said Stanley Young, a spokesman for the California Air Resources Board, which is working on emissions standards for cars that would take effect in 2017. He estimated that the bill could roll back scheduled cuts in pollution and petroleum consumption by 25 percent nationwide.” The bill passed 255-172. [HR 910, Vote #249, 4/7/11; San Francisco Chronicle, 3/14/11; CQ House Action Report, 4/4/11]

Voted To Block Regulation Of Dangerous Pollutants. In 2011, Ryan voted in favor of a bill that would block regulations to reduce emissions of pollutants from coal-fired power plants by the Environment Protection Agency. The bill would have required the establishment of a committee to analyze the impact of certain EPA regulations on the economy, delaying the rules, including those on mercury emissions. The bill passed 249-169. [HR 2401, Vote #741, 9/23/11; Chicago Tribune, 9/24/11; CQ Floor Votes, 9/23/11]

Voted To Allow Clean Air Laws To Be Weakened. In 2007, Ryan voted against an amendment to the fiscal year 2008 Interior appropriations bill to prevent clean air laws from being rolled back to protect polluters. The amendment prohibited the use of funds in the bill for the EPA to develop or implement a proposed rule that would ease hazardous air pollution emissions standards for major source polluters as defined under the Clean Air Act. The amendment passed 252-178. [HR 2643, Vote #556, 6/26/07; CQ Floor Votes, 6/26/07]