U.S. Representative Kathy Hochul has not been in office for very long, but already she’s become one of the more legislatively active members of Congress. Yesterday, for example, Representative Hochul introduced an amendment to H.R. 2584, an appropriations bill for the Department of the Interior.
Hochul’s amendment sought to reduce spending on the Bureau of Land Management’s drilling permit approval process. Last month, it was revealed that the Bureau of Land Management has broken the law by approving large number of drilling permits on federal lands without doing any of the required analysis about the impact of the air pollution that will result from the drilling. The Bureau is currently being sued by a coalition of citizen groups in order to force it back into compliance with the law. Hochul’s amendment, if approved, would have provided institutional pressure from within to compliment the civil action, reducing the size of the federal budget deficit at the same time. Kathleen Hochul also added a provision requiring oil companies to cover costs of the permit process, ensuring that these wealthy companies pay their own way for the cost of doing business.
Not one Republican voted in favor of Hochul’s spending cuts to bring accountability to the Bureau of Land Management. As much as the House Republicans talk about bringing spending under control, they chose to block action on Hochul’s spending reduction amendment.
However, it wasn’t just Republicans who prevented passage of Hochul’s amendment. The 38 Democrats who voted against accountability for the Bureau of Land Management’s lax regulation of air pollution from fossil fuels drilling on federal lands were:
Jason Altmire, Joe Baca, John Barrow, Sanford Bishop, Dennis Cardoza, André Carson, Ben Chandler, Jim Cooper, Jim Costa, Mark Critz, Henry Cuellar, Diana DeGette, Joe Donnelly, Charles Gonzalez, Al Green, Gene Green, Raul Grijalva, Martin Heinrich, James Himes, Rubén Hinojosa, Tim Holden, Sheila Jackson Lee, Larry Kissell, Rick Larsen, Daniel Lipinski, Ben Luján, Jim Matheson, Mike McIntyre, William Owens, Ed Pastor, Ed Perlmutter, Collin Peterson, Nick Rahall, Silvestre Reyes, Cedric Richmond, Mike Ross, Bennie Thompson, David Wu