Senators Purchased by Coal Industry Vote to Block EPA Pollution Rules

Friday, November 20, 2015
(graphic: Steve Straehley, AllGov)

The Senate this week voted to stop new environmental rules that would impact the coal industry in a payback by those who have accepted thousands of dollars from mining companies.


Maplight reported that senators voting for two Senate resolutions (S.J.Res.23 and S.J.Res.24) targeting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations “received, on average, 17 times as much money ($75,802) from the coal mining industry compared to senators voting against them ($4,464) between April 1, 2009 and March 31, 2015.”


Thirteen senators received more than $100,000 from the industry between April 1, 2009 and March 31, 2015—and all of them voted for both resolutions. The Senate approved the resolutions by identical votes of 52-46.


Backers of the resolution hope that it will show other nations that Congress does not back President Obama’s climate change mitigation efforts as he prepares for a United Nations conference on the issue next week in Paris.


S.J.Res.23 would halt an EPA rule on greenhouse gas emissions, while S.J.Res.24 would stop an EPA rule on carbon pollution emission guidelines.


The New York Times reported that the resolutions were supported by three Democratic senators from states in which coal is key to the economy: Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana.


At the same time, three moderate Republicans, two of them up for re-election next year in swing states, Senators Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Mark S. Kirk of Illinois, as well as Senator Susan Collins of Maine, broke from their party to vote against the resolutions and back the environmental regulations, the Times’ Coral Davenport wrote.


“The resolution would impede efforts to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants — the largest source of carbon pollution in the country — when the need to act, and to act quickly, to mitigate climate change impacts on American communities has never been more clear,” White House officials said in a statement.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Senators Voting to Block EPA Rules Received 17 Times as Much Money from the Coal Mining Industry (by Miriam Marks, MapLight)

Senate Votes to Block Obama’s Climate Change Rules (by Coral Davenport, New York Times)

George W. Bush-Appointed Judge Halts Implementation of Rule Protecting Streams and Wetlands (by Steve Straehley, AllGov)

As Obama Strikes Climate Accord with China, the Environment Lands in Crosshairs of New Republican Congress (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Steve Straehley, AllGov)


Marty 8 years ago
One day someone will actually write the truth, but I can't imagine seeing it in my life time. Name an industry where someone hasn't been bought. The funny thing about this particular deal is, the unions have bought the democrats and they still lost jobs, corporate America buys people but they still have to move out of the country. This is all corruption at it's finest and has nothing to do with what is right or best for this country. But you may want to remember this part, we all have to die and answer for what we did.
Elle 8 years ago
While we cannot speak for all Senators, we can tell you that Sens. Joe Donnelly and Dan Coats from Indiana were not bought--but influenced by direct constituent input, to the tune of thousands of letters and petition signatures, along with state legislators and mayors letters telling our Indiana leaders to stand strong in opposing the "Costly Power Plan." Of course, I'm sure none of the U.S. senators who voted for this detrimental set of regulations has ever been given PAC money or donations from the Sierra Club. I see your article was missing that factual information.

Leave a comment