How they voted: Maine’s congressional delegation, June 17-23, 2011

Posted June 24, 2011, at 11:25 p.m.
Last modified June 27, 2011, at 7:12 p.m.

House Votes

Democratic Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree

Vote 1: Emissions from offshore drilling: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., to the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act (HR 2021). The amendment would have eliminated a provision for emissions from offshore oil and natural gas production to be measured at the corresponding onshore location. Speier said “this change would clearly weaken public health protection for oil workers,” fishermen, boaters, and other residents of coastal communities. An opponent, Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., said evaluating offshore energy production projects based on their impact on onshore air quality was a rational way to enforce air quality standards. The vote, on June 22, was 176 yeas to 248 nays.

YEAS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 2: Permits for offshore drilling: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., to the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act (H.R. 2021). The amendment would have eliminated a provision to end authority for the Environmental Appeals Board at the EPA to overturn air permits for offshore energy production. Quigley said retaining the authority for the board would let it “continue to serve to protect the public health, to keep unnecessary lawsuits from the court system, and to take into account local community input.” An opponent, Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., said ending the authority for the board would keep it from being able to delay permits for drilling activity for up to five years. The vote, on June 22, was 173 yeas to 251 nays.

YEAS: Michaud, Pingree

House Vote 4:

VENUE FOR LITIGATING AIR PERMITS: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., to the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act (H.R. 2021). The amendment would have eliminated a provision to require appeals of air permit decisions for offshore energy production to be litigated in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Eshoo said allowing permitting litigation to occur in local courts would encourage local involvement in the process and relieve local officials from having to incur the expense and effort of going to Washington for litigation. An opponent, Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., said the amendment was unnecessary because litigants were already required to go to Washington to argue permitting decisions before the EPA Environmental Appeals Board. The vote, on June 22, was 183 yeas to 240 nays.

YEAS: Rep. Mike Michaud D-ME (2nd), Rep. Chellie Pingree D-ME (1st)

House Vote 5:

STUDYING IMPACT OF PERMITS ON ENERGY PRICES: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Kathleen Hochul, D-N.Y., to the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act (H.R. 2021). The amendment would have required the EPA to submit to Congress a report studying the impact the legislation would have on oil and gas production and energy prices. Hochul said the report would provide a better understanding of whether the bill will lower gas prices for consumers, or if oil companies would “secure permits and not choose to drill to keep oil and gas off the market” in an effort to keep prices elevated. An opponent, Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., said the amendment “doesn’t address the actual fact that price is very much dependent on supply,” which the bill would increase and therefore lower prices, and Gardner added that the study would not “relieve the American consumers’ pain at the pump.” The vote, on June 22, was 186 yeas to 238 nays.

YEAS: Rep. Mike Michaud D-ME (2nd), Rep. Chellie Pingree D-ME (1st)

House Vote 6:

AIR PERMITS FOR OFFSHORE ENERGY PRODUCTION: The House has passed the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act (H.R. 2021), sponsored by Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo. The bill would change air permitting for offshore energy production by regulating drilling ships as stationary emissions sources and drilling service ships as mobile emissions sources, while requiring EPA to issue decisions on air permit applications within six months of receiving an application. Gardner said the changes “would reduce our dependence on Middle East oil significantly” by streamlining the permitting process and therefore expanding offshore oil and gas production substantially. An opponent, Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., said it would give “offshore oil companies a pass to pollute by exempting the offshore drilling companies from” emissions controls requirements and harming air quality in onshore areas. The vote, on June 22, was 253 yeas to 166 nays.

NAYS: Rep. Mike Michaud D-ME (2nd), Rep. Chellie Pingree D-ME (1st)

Senate votes

Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe

Vote 1: Defense secretary confirmed: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Leon Panetta to serve as Defense Secretary. A supporter, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., cited Panetta’s decades of experience as a budget director, head of the CIA and House member, which he said gave Panetta the skill and wisdom “to navigate the extraordinarily complex set of challenges in the years ahead” for the military. The vote, on June 21, was unanimous with 100 yeas.

YEAS: Collins, Snowe

Vote 2: Defunding presidential czars: The Senate has rejected a cloture motion to cut off debate on an amendment sponsored by Sen. David Vitter, R-La., to the Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act (S 679). The amendment would have eliminated funding for policy czars appointed by the president and the offices of the czars. Vitter said the appointment of czars was an “end run around the U.S. Constitution” as well as “the powers of the Senate and the balance of power of advice and consent and confirmation.” An opponent, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called the amendment “a poison pill designed to handcuff the President’s ability to assemble a team of topflight advisers and aides.” The vote, on June 23, was 47 yeas to 51 nays, with a three-fifths majority required to approve cloture.

YEAS: Collins, Snowe

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