How they voted: Maine’s congressional delegation, May 6-12, 2011

Posted May 13, 2011, at 8:47 p.m.

House votes

Democratic Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree

Vote 1: Environmental reviews for gulf drilling permits: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., to the Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act (HR 1229). The amendment would have required the interior secretary to consider environmental and safety laws in conducting reviews of offshore deep-water oil drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico. Polis said it addressed Interior’s “ongoing problem in issuing permits for offshore drilling” that do not account for the environmental and safety laws. An opponent, Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., said “this amendment is duplicative and would add delays to the permitting process and production of American-made energy.” The vote, on May 10, was 167 yeas to 245 nays.

YEAS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 2: Preventing oil well blowouts: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., to the Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act (HR 1229). The amendment would have established new minimum standards for blow-out preventers, cementing and well design in oil and natural gas wells developed offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. Markey said it would ensure that measures taken to prevent a well blowout “are redundant so that failure of one does not lead to cascading failures of the entire system as occurred with BP’s Macondo well” last spring. An opponent, Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., said “the technical standards proposed in this amendment have not been subject to a thorough review or understanding of the impacts” of establishing the new standards, and that many of the standards would only duplicate actions already being taken by the Interior Department. The vote, on May 10, was 176 yeas to 237 nays.

YEAS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 3: Gulf of Mexico permitting requirement: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., to the Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act (HR 1229). The amendment would have required applicants for drilling oil and natural gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico to include detailed estimates of the amount of oil and gas that would be explored or produced and the effect production would have on consumer prices. Hastings argued that the wells “will do little to help Americans at the gas pump” because prices were primarily driven by high global demand, and granting drilling permits “will put our businesses, as well as our environment and health, at an increased risk with little return to the average American.” An opponent, Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., said “the real result of this amendment would be that we don’t create jobs, revenue and more energy.” The vote, on May 10, was 169 yeas to 258 nays.

YEAS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 4: Gulf of Mexico energy lawsuits: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., to the Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act (HR 1229). The amendment would have authorized states outside of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to hear civil lawsuits regarding energy production in the Gulf of Mexico. Deutch said that by allowing courts in Florida and Alabama to hear the lawsuits, his amendment provided “a simple solution to address this bill’s unwarranted restrictions on which courts will be able to review these leases should they pose a threat to the gulf coast area.” An opponent, Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., said the 5th Circuit restriction was essential “so that those district and appeals court judges would have the essential experience and legal precedent to fairly rule on these technical cases.” The vote, on May 11, was 205 yeas to 222 nays.

YEAS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 5: Attorneys’ fees for energy lawsuits: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., to the Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act (HR 1229). The amendment would have struck a bill provision to eliminate attorneys’ fees being awarded to plaintiffs challenging offshore oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico. Hastings said that by increasing the cost of lawsuits against production permits, the provision “makes it even less likely that large oil and gas companies will comply with environmental and safety standards.” An opponent, Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., said “taxpayer dollars should not go to lawsuits being filed by special interests that are making millions and millions of dollars in annual revenue.” The vote, on May 10, was 185 yeas to 239 nays.

YEAS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 6: Oil, gas drilling in Gulf of Mexico: The House has passed the Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act (HR 1229), sponsored by Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash. The bill would require the interior secretary to issue decisions on permit application for offshore energy production in the Gulf of Mexico within 60 days. A supporter, Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., said passing the bill would act to “create jobs, to lower prices, including the price of gas at the pump, and to strengthen our national security.” An opponent, Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., said it “will make offshore drilling less safe while opening up vast new swaths of our coastlines without adding any new safety requirements or environmental safeguards on the oil and gas industry.” The vote, on May 11, was 263 yeas to 163 nays.

NAYS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 7: The military and offshore energy leases: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., to the Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act (HR 1231). The amendment would have required that any new leases for offshore oil and natural gas production do not conflict with operations by the military. Connolly said it was a common-sense measure “to protect our national defense and national security” by preserving military use of offshore areas for training and practice with live ordnance. An opponent, Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, said the amendment was redundant because the bill already allowed “both offshore energy leasing and military activities to go forward and exist in a safe, responsible way.” The vote, on May 11, was 193 yeas to 228 nays.

YEAS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 8: Royalty payments for oil, gas leases: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., to the Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act (HR 1231). The amendment would have required companies bidding on new oil and natural gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico to first renegotiate current leases on which they do not now pay royalties to the government. Markey said the requirement could lead to $53 billion of royalty payments, whereas currently the oil industry was enjoying an “absolutely undeserved” blank check because leases issued in the 1990s did not require them to pay royalties. An opponent, Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, said “forcing companies to renegotiate the leases would be a violation of contract law and would be challenged in court.”

YEAS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 9: Scenarios for offshore oil spills: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass., to the Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act (HR 1231). The amendment would have required applicants for offshore natural gas and oil lease permits to provide worst-case scenarios for potential production spills under the permits. Tsongas said the requirement “will protect fishing jobs and tourism jobs instead of asking us to put those jobs at risk should a spill occur.” An opponent, Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, said that the Interior Department already had a worst-case scenario requirement, and so the amendment would be redundant. The vote, on May 12, was 195 yeas to 223 nays.

YEAS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 10: Energy production in eastern Gulf of Mexico: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., to the Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act (HR 1231). The amendment would have established a permanent moratorium on natural gas and oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Brown said “the risk of danger to the environment and the economy greatly outweighs any potential benefits” from drilling off Florida’s Gulf coast. An opponent, Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, said “Congress should not foreclose the possibility of future energy production” in an area that could produce 4 billion barrels of oil and over 21 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The vote, on May 12, was 134 yeas to 279 nays.

YEAS: Pingree

NAYS: Michaud

Vote 11: Offshore energy and northern California: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., to the Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act (HR 1231). The amendment would have barred leases for oil and natural gas production off the coast of Northern California. Thompson said “drilling for oil or gas off California’s north coast could cause serious harm to the unique and productive ecosystem and abundant marine life found in this area.” An opponent, Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, said leasing in the area was unlikely and that the amendment would distract the government from the goal of “increasing American offshore energy production.” The vote, on May 12, was 156 yeas to 263 nays.

YEAS: Pingree

NAYS: Michaud

Vote 12: Lifting offshore drilling moratorium: The House has passed the Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act (HR 1231), sponsored by Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash. The bill would require the interior secretary to conduct lease sales for offshore oil and natural gas production under a five-year program extending from 2012 to 2017. A supporter, Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, said it “will not only significantly increase American energy production; it would also create good-paying American jobs.” An opponent, Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., called the bill “a giveaway to Exxon-Mobil and Shell” that failed to establish needed safety reforms for offshore drilling. The vote, on May 12, was 243 yeas to 179 nays.

NAYS: Michaud, Pingree

Senate votes

Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe

Vote 1: District judge for California: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Edward Milton Chen to serve as U.S. District judge for the Northern District of California. A supporter, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., cited Chen’s decade of experience as a magistrate judge in the district and his prior work as a civil rights lawyer in calling Chen a “highly qualified and respected nominee.” An opponent, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said Chen appeared to believe that “judges should interpret the law according to their personal understandings and preferences.” The vote, on May 10, was 56 yeas to 42 nays.

YEAS: Collins, Snowe

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/05/13/politics/how-they-voted-maine%e2%80%99s-congressional-delegation-may-6-12-2011/ printed on November 22, 2014